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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rocket Blast Wounds 30 in Israel

ZIKIM, Israel -- A Palestinian rocket exploded in an Israeli army base Tuesday, wounding dozens of soldiers as they slept in their tents and drawing Israeli calls for a major military operation in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was scheduled to meet later Tuesday with top military and security officials to discuss a response to the attack, Israeli officials said.

The wounded soldiers were all recent recruits undergoing basic training at the army's Zikim base, just north of the Gaza-Israel border, and were asleep when the rocket hit an empty tent, the army said. More than 40 soldiers in nearby tents were wounded --12 of them seriously, the army said.

Ambulances roared up to the base's gate after the rocket hit before 2 a.m., and army helicopters evacuated the seriously wounded.

The injury toll was the highest ever sustained in a single Palestinian rocket attack, and the strike came at a time when Israeli leaders have been calling for a more aggressive response to the near-daily rocket barrages out of Gaza.

In an initial response, the army said ground forces attacked the area used by the militants to attack the base.

Four Palestinian civilians between the ages 5 and 21 were wounded, a doctor at Gaza's Health Ministry said.

Two small extremist groups, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed responsibility in a joint statement faxed to reporters.