Israel air strikes kill two in Gaza

GAZA Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:22pm EDT

Related Topics

GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli air strikes killed two Palestinians, at least one of them a Hamas militant, and wounded eight others in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the Islamist group and medical staff said.

The Israeli military confirmed it had carried out air strikes and said militants had been targeted.

One man was killed and three others wounded when a missile hit a house in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, medics and Hamas officials.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that a number of armed men had been targeted. Hamas said they were civilians.

A Hamas gunman was killed in a strike earlier on Sunday, taking to six the number of militants killed in Israeli air strikes since members of the group drove bomb-laden vehicles into an Israeli border crossing on Saturday.

Two Palestinian teenagers died on Sunday of wounds sustained in an Israeli attack that killed Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana in the Gaza Strip last Wednesday, raising the total death toll in that incident to six, hospital staff said.

Nineteen Palestinians were killed in all on Wednesday, 13 of them described by medics as civilians, after militants killed three Israeli soldiers who were on an raid into the territory.

Israel, which pulled troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, regularly launches raids which it says are aimed at militants responsible for cross-border rocket fire that has traumatized southern Israeli towns.

MAJOR ASSAULTS

Three Hamas militants were killed and 13 Israeli soldiers wounded in Saturday's bombing attack at Kerem Shalom in the southern Gaza Strip, the third major Palestinian assault on border crossing points in less than two weeks.

Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June after routing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, and opposes his U.S.-brokered peace negotiations with Israel. Israel has tightened its cordon around Gaza since the takeover.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met Hamas leaders in the region last week and proposed the group stop firing rockets while he pursues efforts with Israel and the West to lift a blockade on the Gaza Strip, politicians familiar with the talks said. Hamas said it was still studying the proposal.

"Our position in general is that ... calm should be reciprocal and simultaneous," Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said in Gaza.

Israeli leaders have shunned Carter and Washington has criticized him for contacts with Hamas, which both the United States and Israel regard as a terrorist group.

Dozens of Palestinian journalists marched through the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Sunday in protest at Shana's killing. Carrying his portrait, they called for an independent investigation into his death.

Gaza doctors said darts sprayed from a controversial type of missile used by Israel killed Shana.

The Israeli military said on Sunday night that it was investigating the circumstances of the Shana's death.

In the final seconds of his surviving video, Shana filmed an Israeli tank firing a shell that apparently delivered the fatal round.

(Additional reporting by Ori Lewis and Brenda Gazzar in Jerusalem and Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah; Writing by Rebecca Harrison and Ori Lewis; editing by Keith Weir)

FILED UNDER: