Israel attacks Gaza targets after bomb blast injures two soldiers

Two Palestinians are reported killed by tank fire

A Palestinian demonstrator shouts during clashes with Israeli troops, near the border with Israel in the southern Gaza Strip. Photograph: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

A Palestinian demonstrator shouts during clashes with Israeli troops, near the border with Israel in the southern Gaza Strip. Photograph: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

 

Israeli tank fire killed two Palestinian teenagers in Gaza, health officials said on Sunday after Israel attacked 18 targets after an explosion wounded four Israeli soldiers.

The flare-up, which started on Saturday and had died down by Sunday morning, was one of the biggest in the Gaza Strip since a 2014 war between Israel and Palestinian militants.

It began with a bomb blast on the Israel-Gaza border that wounded the Israeli troops. Israel responded with what the military said were air strikes and tank fire against 18 targets belonging to Hamas, the dominant militant group in Gaza, and Islamic Jihad.

Gaza militant groups usually evacuate potential targets in anticipation of retaliation for attacks against Israelis. The Israeli military claimed weapons-making facilities, training camps and observation posts were hit.

Gaza medics said that on Sunday they retrieved the bodies of two 17-year-old Palestinians killed by the Israeli tank fire.

The Israeli military said the tank targeted suspects that troops thought were trying to cross into Israeli territory.

No militant group in Gaza claimed responsibility for Saturday’s explosion.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the smaller armed groups in Gaza, had detonated the bomb that wounded the soldiers.

Tensions have risen along the Gaza border since US president Donald Trump’s recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.–Reuters