Related News

Home » World

Palestinian militants killed at border

ISRAELI forces attacked a group of Palestinian militants along the Gaza-Israel border early yesterday, killing two gunmen and wounding three others in one of the worst flare-ups of violence since Israel ended its offensive in the territory more than two months ago.

Troops spotted four militants planting explosive devices along the fence, and an Israeli soldier was wounded in an ensuing gunbattle, the Israeli military said. The troops called in an airstrike, and later uncovered grenades and an anti-tank missile.

Palestinian witnesses reported hearing two explosions from the border area in the central Gaza Strip, after which Israeli helicopters hovered over the fence and fired at targets.

Medical crews evacuated the bodies of two Palestinian men in military uniforms from the border, according to Dr Moaiya Hassanain of Gaza's Health Ministry. Three other militants were wounded, Hassanain said, two in the initial clash and a third in a subsequent Israeli missile strike.

No Palestinian group claimed involvement in the clash. But Hamas, the Islamic group that has ruled Gaza since 2007, sent a text message to reporters saying the group's fighters fired 18 mortar shells at Israeli troops in the vicinity of the clash. Palestinian militants also fired two rockets into Israel, both landing in open areas, the army said.

Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised the army's quick response. "Israeli soldiers are very alert," he said.

Israel launched its Gaza offensive in late December in an attempt to halt years of rocket fire at Israeli border towns and cripple Hamas. Rocket fire and sporadic fighting along the border have persisted since Israel ended the offensive on January 18. But the border has been relatively quiet in recent weeks as Egypt tries to broker a long-term truce.

Egypt has also been mediating between Hamas and the rival government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who controls the West Bank. A new round of talks is set to begin this week.

Abbas' prime minister, Salam Fayyad, was to have stepped down yesterday to make way for a new unity government but an official said he would be remaining in office until a new Cabinet was formed.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend