Israel bombards Gaza Strip, shoots down Hamas rocket fired at Tel Aviv

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Air attacks knocked out five electricity transformers, cutting off power to more than 400,000 people in southern Gaza, according to the Gaza electricity distribution company. People switched on backup generators for limited electrical supplies.

In southern Gaza, aircraft went after underground tunnels militants use to smuggle in weapons and other contraband from Egypt, residents reported. A huge explosion in the area sent buildings shuddering in the Egyptian city of El-Arish, 45 kilometers (30 miles) away, an Associated Press correspondent there reported.

The Israeli military said more than 950 targets have been struck since the operation began.

On Saturday, more than 120 rockets slammed into Israel, causing damage to houses. About 10 Israelis were injured lightly, among dozens of others wounded since the start of the operation.

Despite the violence, Egyptian-led diplomacy was underway to bring an end to the fighting.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was meeting the leaders of Turkey and Qatar Saturday as well as Hamas leader Khaled Meshal to discuss details of a proposed cease-fire.

The Arab League also met Saturday to consider sending its chief Nabil Elaraby and a team of foreign ministers to Gaza in the coming two days to assess the situation and respond to humanitarian needs there, according to a draft memorandum obtained by the AP.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters Saturday that during discussions with Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin late Friday, he suggested that Turkey, Egypt, the United States and Russia help broker a simultaneous cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

“It would be good if we could work on it rapidly to solve the matter within 24 hours, because the death toll is mounting,” he said.

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Goldenberg reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Karin Laub in Gaza City, Matthew Daly in Washington and Aya Batrawy in Cairo contributed reporting.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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