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Middle East

Israel presses ahead with airstrikes on Gaza

Two Palestinians killed hours after funerals were held for three senior Hamas commanders struck by Israeli air strikes.

Last updated: 22 Aug 2014 08:13
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Two Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli airstrike as fighting continues for a third day after the collapse of Egyptian-led cease-fire talks, a Gaza health official said.

Ashraf al-Kidra said on Friday the two were workers at a livestock farm that was hit in the airstrike.

The Israeli military said it carried out 20 airstrikes early on Friday, targeting rocket launchers and weapons sites. It said Gaza fighters fired two rockets at Israel. 

Friday's fighting came as funerals were held for three senior Hamas commanders killed by Israeli air raids.

The Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, said Mohamed Abo Shamaleh, Raed al-Attar and Mohamed Barhoum were killed in an attack in Rafah on Thursday, little more than a day after an attempt on the life of its leader Mohammed Deif. 

The slain commanders' supporters later took over the streets as their funeral procession snaked through Rafah, which bears scars of Israeli bombing from previous days.

Another 31 people were killed in other Israeli strikes in Gaza since on Thursday, raising the overall death toll to 2,087 in 46 days of conflict. 

Israel meanwhile said it was rotating 10,000 troops - meaning fresh soldiers were being prepared for possible future operations - a day after the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel's offensive may be an extended operation. 

Hamas condemned the assasinations, with Sami Abu Zuhri, the group's spokesman, calling them a "big Israeli crime" for which it would pay.

The fighting resumed three days ago after Egyptian attempts to broker an end to the monthlong war, with Palestinians firing dozens of rockets and Israel responding with airstrikes across Gaza.

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