Israel kills 2 Gazans as fighting enters third day

Channels Television  
Updated June 20, 2012

Israeli air strikes killed a Palestinian militant and a 14-year-old boy on Wednesday as fighting across the border of the Gaza Strip entered a third day, despite Egyptian calls for a truce.

A member of one of Gaza’s fringe Islamist Salafi networks died and a comrade was wounded in an air strike on their motorcycle in southern Rafah, near Gaza’s border with the Egyptian Sinai, medical officials said.

A second air strike, in Gaza City, killed a 14-year-old boy and wounded his father, also a civilian, the officials said. The Israeli military confirmed the air strikes happened but gave no details on the second attack.

Palestinians fired around 20 rockets into Israel on Wednesday, causing no casualties, the Israeli military said.

Israel said the men targeted in Rafah were involved in a raid on Monday from adjacent Sinai territory into the Jewish state, which sparked the flare-up in violence.

One Israeli was killed in that attack and Israeli troops shot and killed two gunmen. A newly formed radical Islamist movement, the “Shura Council of Mujahideen in the Holy Land”, claimed responsibility for the raid.

Fighters from Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement have joined in the missile attacks on Israel after months of staying on the sidelines, a shift that holds the prospect of a wider conflict as Egypt faces a possible power struggle between the army and Islamist political forces.

Cairo has brokered Gaza truces in the past and an Egyptian official said renewed mediation had secured agreement by Israel and Palestinian factions to cease hostilities on Tuesday night.

A Palestinian source accused the Israelis of violating the deal. Israel neither confirmed nor denied there was such deal, and the military said in a statement it would “continue to operate with perseverance and determination against those who use terror against the State of Israel”.

Israel Radio quoted Yasser Othman, Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian territories, saying Cairo sought to rein in the Gaza violence on the basis of “calm for calm” – with neither side provoking the other.