January 11, 2009 / 5:07 PM / 10 years ago

Israeli bomb shrapnel wounds 4 Egyptians

ISMAILIA, Egypt, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Two Egyptian children and two police officers were wounded by shrapnel from Israeli bombs near a crossing point at Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip on Sunday, security sources said.

The children, aged two and five, and the two officers were the first Egyptians to be wounded by Israeli bombs since the Israeli offensive against Gaza began on Dec. 27, and were taken to hospitals in el-Arish.

There were no details of the gravity of their injuries.

Witnesses said Egyptian houses near the border and government offices at the crossing were damaged by shrapnel on Sunday.

Israel has expanded its air campaign to the southern Gaza Strip, aiming at smuggling tunnels running under the border with Egypt, a network that is Gaza’s lifeline to the outside world.

Israel says militants use the tunnels to smuggle weapons into Gaza.

One Egyptian border guard has been killed and two have been wounded in clashes with Palestinians trying to enter Egypt since the Israeli offensive began.

The Palestinian death toll in Gaza since Dec. 27 stands at 874, many of them civilians, Gaza medical officials said. Israel says 10 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed. (Reporting by Yusri Mohamed, writing by Aziz El-Kaissouni; editing by Tim Pearce)

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