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Gaza on 'state of alert' after three policemen killed by reported ISIS bombers

The police officers died at checkpoints last night.

Palestinians gather at the site of an explosion in Gaza City last night
Palestinians gather at the site of an explosion in Gaza City last night
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

THE GAZA STRIP was on a “state of alert” last night after explosions killed three policemen in Palestine, authorities said.

The officers died in “two explosions targeting police checkpoints” late on Tuesday, the interior ministry in the Hamas-controlled region said in a statement.

The Gaza Strip, home to two million Palestinians, was on a “state of alert”, the ministry said and AFP journalists reported an increased Hamas presence on the main roads of the enclave.

Authorities in Gaza did not specify the nature of the explosions, but BBC reports that suicide bombers linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) group were responsible.

The Israeli military bombed a Hamas military post earlier yesterday, after militants in Gaza fired a mortar round across the border, but said it had not carried out any air raids at night.

Palestinian eyewitnesses at the scene told AFP that they had seen no aircraft overhead.

Tuesday’s events were the latest in a string of cross-border incidents that have raised concerns of a further escalation of violence before Israel’s September elections.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for re-election, with political opponents calling for tougher action against Hamas.

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On Monday, Israeli warplanes hit what the military said were “terror targets in a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza Strip, including the office of a Hamas battalion commander”.

Israeli authorities accused Hamas of being responsible for the latest violence.

They claim it undermines a truce brokered by the UN and Egypt that provides for an easing of the Israeli blockade of Gaza in return for an end to military operations from the Palestinian enclave.

With reporting from - © AFP 2019

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