Gaza Burning

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Tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip have been mounting since various Islamic militant groups fired a barrage of rockets over the border earlier this week. However, the assassination of top Hamas military leader Ahmed al-Jabari by an Israeli air strike on Nov. 14 sparked the most aggressive escalation of conflict since Operation Cast Lead ended in 2009. So far, the fighting has claimed the lives of 100 Palestinians and three Israelis. As Israel readies itself for a possible ground invasion and Hamas fires rockets at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, it may be that those casualties are just the beginning.

Here's a look at what could be the start of another long and bloody conflict in a region that has already seen its share of violence.

Above, Israeli artillery shells attack a target in Gaza on Nov. 19.

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Israeli air strikes killed 31 Palestinians on Sunday in the bloodiest day of its air campaign on the Gaza Strip so far, as diplomatic efforts to broker a truce intensified. In this photo, a Palestinian man covers his face to protect it from smoke as he passes a fire that broke out after Israel struck targets in Gaza City on Nov. 19. 

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Israeli war planes hit a Gaza City media center and homes in northern Gaza in the early morning of Nov. 18 as the death toll mounted, despite suggestions from Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi that there could be a 'ceasefire soon.' Above, Palestinian children walk past destroyed buildings following Israeli air strikes on the  town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Nov.18. 

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An Israeli girl holds her sister as they take cover in a large concrete pipe used as a bomb shelter during a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on Nov. 19 in Nitzan, Israel.

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A cat sits on the seat of a car damaged by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on Nov. 18.

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Israeli soldiers sleep in a deployment area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on Nov.19.

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A Palestinian man covers his face as he moves away from tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes that took place as Palestinians protested against the ongoing Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip at the Qalandia checkpoint in the occupied West Bank on Nov. 19.

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Palestinians attempt to extinguish the fire engulfing a car belonging to Ahmad al-Jabari, head of Hamas' military wing, after it was hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on Nov. 14.

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Palestinian relatives of Ahmad Dardasawy, 18, mourn during his funeral in Gaza City on Nov. 11, after he was killed the day before in Israeli shelling as clashes erupted along the Israeli-Gaza border.

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Palestinians gather for a demonstration calling for the end of the political division between the Gaza Strip's Hamas-led leadership and the Palestinian Authority's Fatah-led movement in Gaza City on Nov. 13.

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A picture taken from the southern Israeli-Gaza border shows smoke billowing from the Gaza Strip after it was targeted by an Israeli air strike on Nov. 16, the third day of an intensive campaign which the Israeli military has said is aimed at stamping out rocket fire targeting southern Israel.

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Palestinian relatives mourn over the body of Hanen Tafish, a 10-month-old girl, at the morgue of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on Nov. 15, after she was killed in an Israeli air strike on the Zeitun neighborhood.

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Before al-Jabari's assassination, an uneasy calm prevailed on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel as Israel's military leaders weighed their response to rockets fired over the border by Palestinian militants. Above, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses foreign ambassadors during a briefing in the southern city of Ashkelon on Nov. 12.

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Khaled Meshaal, exiled political chief of Hamas, attends a conference of Sudanese Islamists in Khartoum on Nov. 15. His visit to Sudan came as Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza for a second time in Israel's toughest assault on the Palestinian territory in four years.

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Three people were killed in Israel on Nov. 15 after a building was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip following al-Jabari's assasination. Above, a relative grieves during the funeral of Itzik Amsalem, 49, one of the three Israelis who died in the rocket attack, in Kiryat Malachi, Israel on Nov. 16.

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A Palestinian man looks at rubble of the Civilian Affairs branch of the Ministry of Interior following an Israeli air raid in Gaza City on Nov.16.

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Thousands of angry Palestinians rallied across the West Bank, urging Hamas militants to attack Tel Aviv as Israel pursued its relentless air campaign on the Gaza Strip. Above, an Israeli soldier takes aim at Palestinian youths as they protest against the war on Gaza at the Qalandia checkpoint in the occupied West Bank on Nov. 16.

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Egypt's premier vowed to intensify Cairo's efforts to secure a truce and urged world leaders to end Israel's "aggression" in Gaza during a visit to the Hamas-run enclave. In this photo, Fares Sadallah, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, cries as he sits outside his home, which was damaged in an Israeli air strike on Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on Nov. 16.

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Israelis take cover in a large concrete pipe used as a bomb shelter after a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip on Nov. 15 in Nitzan, Israel. The rocket attack happened some 24 hours after the IDF targeted nearly 200 sites in the Gaza Strip and killed al-Jabari.

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Palestinian firefighters try to extinguish fire at a factory, which was hit by an Israeli air strike on Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on Nov. 16.

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Palestinian women and children mourn during the funeral of Audi Naser, who was killed in an Israeli air strike on the northern Gaza Strip on Nov. 16.

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A Palestinian boy watches the funeral of Hisham Ghalban in the southern Gaza Strip on Nov. 15.

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Gaza militants targeted Tel Aviv with another rocket on Friday, defying Israeli warnings of a possible ground assault to follow its aerial bombardment of Gaza. Above, Palestinian medical workers wheel a wounded boy into al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on Nov. 16.

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