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Report: 'Five rockets fired from Gaza Strip land in Israel'

Israeli television news reports said air raid sirens sounded after at least five rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel.

There were no reports of damage or injuries. The remnants of one rocket were found near the port city of Ashdod, about 20 km north of the Gaza Strip, an ambulance service spokesman said. No group in the Gaza Strip had immediately taken responsibility. Israeli media speculated that it may have been an errant rocket that was not intentionally aimed at Israeli territory.

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Head of UN inquiry into war crimes in Gaza conflict resigns

The head of a United Nations inquiry into the conflict in Gaza has announced his resignation after Israel accused him of bias.

UK-based academic William Schabas was appointed by the head of the UN Human Rights Council to lead an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during Israel's military operation in Gaza last year.

William Schabas was appointed to lead an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during Israel's military operation in Gaza last year Credit: Reuters

Israel had criticised his appointment, citing his record as a critic of the state and its leadership, and the Council had sought legal advice after it emerged he was paid $1,300 (£865) to provide a legal opinion for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 2012.

Reuters news agency reports that Schabas sent a letter to the commission stating he would step down immediately to prevent the issue from overshadowing the findings of the report, which is due to be released in March.

He also defended his work for the PLO.

My views on Israel and Palestine as well as on many other issues were well known and very public... This work in defence of human rights appears to have made me a huge target for malicious attacks.

I believe that it is difficult for the work to continue while a procedure is underway to consider hether the chair of the commission should be removed.

– William Schabas

Palestinian jailed for role in deaths of three Israelis

Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach were killed in June. Credit: Reuters

A Palestinian man has been jailed for life for 'masterminding' the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli youths which set off a chain of events leading to the 50-day Gaza war last summer, Reuters reports.

The court found that Hussam Kawasmeh, who was reportedly a member of the militant Hamas Islamist group, planned the abduction in which Eyal Yifrach, 19, and Gilad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel, both 16, were shot dead while hitchhiking in the occupied West Bank in June.

Israeli media reports that the youths were found buried on land bought by Kawasmeh and he received 200,000 shekels to fund the attack which he used to buy the car used in the abductions along with weapons.

Two Hamas operatives suspected of having killed the teenagers died in a firefight with Israeli forces at their West Bank hideout in September.

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