Foreign Office urges restraint after Israeli air strikes

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Britain urged restraint in the Middle East today after Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for renewed cross-border rocket attacks.

Warplanes struck several targets believed by the Israeli military to be weapons factories and stores in the most significant operation since last January's assault.

Hamas security officials said a cheese factory and a film-making complex were in fact among the sites hit and there were reports of three children being injured.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are concerned by today's strikes and the escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel over the past week.

"We call on all parties to show restraint.

We encourage Israelis and Palestinians to focus efforts on negotiation and to engage urgently in US-backed proximity talks."