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Middle East
Palestinians bury victims of Israeli attack
Three people killed in Gaza by an Israeli tank shell just after hours after a deadly air strike had killed three others.
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2012 14:26
Israeli air strike in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza killed three civilians and seriously wounded a fourth [Reuters]

Funerals have been held in the Gaza Strip for three of the six Palestinians killed in two Israeli attacks in under 12 hours.

Three Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, medical sources said.

"We have received three bodies," Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry, said.

The three civilians were killed by an Israeli tank shell just east of the town of Beit Hanun, Qudra said.

He said two were brothers - Akram al-Zaanin, 22, and Ihab al-Zaanin, 23. He added that the third, 26-year-old Tareq al-Kafarna, was on his way to work at Beit Hanun hospital when the shell struck.

The Israeli army claimed that it had fired at a "terrorist squad that was planting an explosive device near the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip".

"A hit was confirmed," a statement said, indicating that they were targeted by "aircraft, the armoured corps and infantry soldiers".

The incident occurred 11 hours after an Israeli air strike on a car in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza killed three civilians and seriously wounded a fourth person.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said the strike targeted "a group of terrorists who were preparing to fire rockets at Israel from the centre of the Gaza Strip".

Qudra said that the attack happened late on Wednesday to the east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp in the centre of the Gaza Strip.

Qudra gave names of two of those killed as Khalil al-Jerba, 27, and Khaled al-Qerem, 25. Witnesses said the Israeli strike had targeted the car in which they were travelling.

Israel says that over the past week, Palestinian fighters stepped up rocket fire on southern Israel, causing some damage but no casualties.

Hardline members of a so-called Salafist group have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks.

Despite an informal truce between Gaza's Hamas government and Israel, tensions flare periodically on the Gaza-Israel border, with Palestinian fighters and Israeli military exchanging fire.

The last major flare-up was in June, when Israeli air strikes killed at least 15 Palestinians. Israel says that these attacks were in retaliation for a 150 rockets fired at southern Israel, that wounded five people.

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