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Middle East
Israeli air strike kills two in Gaza Strip
Fighter jets open fire on Palestinian town of Deir al-Balah, killing two men and wounding another.
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2011 21:00
Relatives of the men killed in the attack said they were both civilians [AFP]

Israeli fighter planes have opened fire on the Palestinian town of Deir al-Balah, in the Gaza Strip, killing two people and wounding one other.

Israel's military said the two men were attempting to fire rockets into Israel, while sources told the Reuters news agency that the pair were members of Tawhid, an Islamist group which has challenged the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

But relatives of the men, identified as Kamal Hamdan Muammar and Mohammed Said Abu Jazar, both 28, said they were civilians, the Associated News agency reported.

"A squad of terrorists preparing to launch rockets at Israeli territory from the central Gaza Strip were identified by an Israeli Air force aircraft that thwarted the attempt by firing at them. A hit was confirmed," an Israeli army statement said about Tuesday's attack.

The Israeli military held Hamas responsible, saying the group are "not enforcing a policy of restraint over the terrorist organisations operating in the Gaza Strip."

Ongoing border fighting

Several Islamist groups, who consider Hamas to be too moderate, have sprouted up in Gaza in recent years.

On Sunday, a rocket fired from Gaza struck open fields in southern Israel, but caused no damage or injuries. The Israeli army said two other projectiles were fired on Saturday.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in fighting along the Israel-Gaza border in recent years, with Israel launching air strikes against what it says are fighters firing rockets and mortars.

Nineteen Palestinians were killed by Israeli airstrikes over a two-day stretch in the second week of April after a rocket fired from Gaza hit an Israeli school bus.

Egypt's new government brokered an informal ceasefire later in April and both Israel and Hamas have largely honoured an unofficial truce.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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