Israel pounds Gaza after Egypt border clash
Published Monday, June 18, 2012
Two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli strike on north Gaza on Monday, medics said, just hours after gunmen mounted a deadly ambush on the Egyptian border, killing an Israeli.
"Two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike targeting a group of people east of Beit Hanun," said Adham Abu Salmiya, spokesman for the Hamas-run emergency services.
A spokesman for the Israeli military confirmed the strike but refused to say whether it was connected to the early-morning attack along the Egyptian border.
"I can confirm there was a targeted attack a while ago against two terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip," he said.
Witnesses said the two men were riding a motorcycle near the Israeli border at the time. They named the two as Mohamed Shabat and Ismail Odeh, saying both were in their 20s.
The Israeli military staged two raids over Gaza during the night, hitting a blacksmith's workship in Rafah, according to Abu Salmiya. The Israeli army claimed it hit a weapon's manufacturing site.
The attack injured five Palestinians, including a woman and a child.
The raids came several hours after an altercation at the Gaza border, when 10 Israeli military vehicles entered roughly 300 meters into the territory on Sunday, and opened fire without warning, according to witnesses.
The Israeli incursion prompted mortar attacks from Palestinian fighters. The Jihad Jibril brigades of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command claimed responsibility for firing five mortar shells at Israeli forces in the area.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said eight mortars were fired at soldiers "during routine activity adjacent to the security fence ... in response forces fired towards suspicious areas."
Israel frequently carries out unprovoked strikes against the Gaza Strip, while maintaining a crippling five-year siege on the Hamas-ruled enclave.
(Ma'an, AFP, Al-Akhbar)