NEW ZEALAND [Derived Headline]

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NEW ZEALAND

Rare tornado kills 3 in nation's largest city

WELLINGTON -- An unusually destructive tornado swept through neighborhoods around the island's largest city on Thursday, killing three people and forcing 250 more to evacuate damaged and powerless homes.

The small tornado hit Hobsonville and Whenuapai, western suburbs of Auckland, during a midday storm that uprooted trees, damaged buildings and caused flooding that closed roads.

Authorities said that as well as those who died, seven people suffering a range of injuries were admitted to hospitals.

Thursday's tornado was the deadliest in New Zealand in more than 60 years. Although the country reports about seven tornadoes on average each year, most are small, mild and do little damage.

GAZA STRIP

Visit by Hamas leadersignals regional embrace

GAZA CITY -- The supreme Hamas leader's first visit to the Gaza Strip this weekend signals growing regional acceptance of the Islamic militant movement in charge of the once isolated territory and grudging acquiescence by Israel. …