Air strike on Gaza Strip tunnel kills two Palestinians

Two dead and five wounded near Gaza-Egypt border after missile slams into a tunnel defying Israeli blockade.

Gaza tunnel
The father of one of two Palestinians killed in a tunnel bombing mourns at a hospital [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]

Two Palestinian civilians were killed and five others wounded in an air strike that hit a tunnel in Gaza near the Egyptian border.

It was unclear who launched the attack on Thursday. A Palestinian official blamed Israel; however, a military spokeswoman denied any knowledge of the strike. 

Ashraf al-Qedra, Gaza’s health ministry spokesperson, said in a statement the two men were “martyred and five other people were wounded as a result of being targeted by an Israeli warplane along the Palestinian-Egyptian borders”.

According to al-Qedra, the two men killed were identified as Hossam al-Sufi, 24, and Mohammed al-Aqra, 38.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was unaware of the attack, which happened pre-dawn between the Gaza Strip and Rafah on the Egyptian side of the border. 

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The incident took place after at least three rockets were fired from the Sinai peninsula into Israel’s southernmost resort city of Eilat late on Wednesday.

The Israeli army said in a statement its missile defence system, known as the “Iron Dome”, intercepted the rockets, preventing any casualties or damage.

Israeli media reported a group affiliated with the Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack on Eilat.

Gaza has been under a decade-long siege imposed by Israel following Hamas’ election victory and subsequent takeover of the enclave in 2007.

Since 2013, Egypt has largely shut off its border with Gaza, blocking nearly 2,000 tunnels connecting Gaza with Rafah, stemming the flow of much-needed goods and resources.

Egypt recently eased some border restrictions with Gaza.

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Source: News Agencies