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Two Palestinian teens killed in what Israel calls 'a response to terror'

15 people have been wounded across Gaza.

An explosion is seen following Israeli strikes in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, near the border with Egypt.
An explosion is seen following Israeli strikes in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, near the border with Egypt.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

TWO PALESTINIANS WERE killed today as Israel unleashed a wave of air strikes against the Gaza Strip, while scores of rockets were fired back from the Hamas-run territory.

The Palestinian teenagers, aged 15 and 16, were killed when an Israeli strike hit a building they were near in the west of Gaza City, the enclave’s health ministry said.

15 people have been wounded across Gaza, the ministry said.

The flare-up came after Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians, including a teenager, and wounded hundreds of others in border clashes yesterday, the latest in months of protests.

The Israeli raids today involved the “largest daytime operation” carried out by its air force in Gaza since a war in 2014, Israel’s military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told journalists.

Israel’s armed forces said dozens of strikes targeted military facilities belonging to the Gaza Strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas, against which it has fought three wars over the past decade.

In the other direction “more than 60 rockets” were fired at southern Israel from Gaza, the Israeli military said, of which “approximately 10 rockets were intercepted”.

- Deadly protests -

The Israeli military said it was conducting strikes against Hamas “in response to the terror acts instigated during the violent riots that took place along the security fence” yesterday.

Among the main targets was the “Hamas Battalion HQ in Beit Lahia, which includes urban warfare training facilities, (a) weapon storage warehouse, training compounds, command centres, offices and more”, the Israeli army said in a statement.

“A weapons manufacturing site and storage facilities housing various types of weapons, including Hamas’ naval capabilities” were also hit, the statement added.

The Israeli army said air strikes carried out in the morning hit “complexes used to prepare arson terror attacks and a Hamas terror training facility”.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the group was responsible for today’s barrage against Israel and that it was carried out “in response to the Israeli air strikes”.

“The protection and the defence of our people is a national duty and a strategic choice,” Barhoum said.

Palestinians in Gaza have for months been demonstrating against Israel’s decade-long blockade of the territory and in support of their right to return to lands they fled or were driven from during the war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.

- © AFP, 2018

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