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Middle East

Israeli tank fire wounds Palestinians

The violence comes as Israeli troops stage a wide-ranging hunt for missing Jewish settlers.

Last updated: 27 Jun 2014 10:46
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Israel is still searching for three settlers missing from the occupied West Bank [AP]

Five Palestinians have been injured by Israeli tank fire in the occupied Gaza Strip, Palestinian medics and the Israeli army have said.

A spokesman for Gaza's health services, Ashraf al-Qudra, told AFP news agency that the five were wounded when the tanks targeted "two mosque minarets" east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Friday.

An 11-year-old boy was seriously injured, he said.

A statement from the Israeli military said "an explosive device was activated against forces operating adjacent to the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip", causing no injuries.

"The force responded with tank fire towards lookout posts used to guide the attack against the forces", it said.

An army spokeswoman told AFP that nine explosive devices were set off at Israeli forces near the border with Gaza since the beginning of the year.

While there has been no recent rise in roadside explosions near Gaza, there has been a noticeable uptick in Palestinian rocket fire at Israel in recent weeks, leading to air strikes by Israel.

Missing settlers

The violence comes after Israel announced the names of two men it said was suspected of involvement in the disappearance of three Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.

Marwan Qawasme and Amar Abu Aysha, both from Hebron, had previously served time in Israeli jails, reported Reuters news agency.

Israel scaled back its house-to-house searches for the teenagers on Tuesday after arresting several hundred Palestinians.

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