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Israel attacks Gaza targets following cross-border fire that killed two Palestinians

By AFP - Sep 09,2019 - Last updated at Sep 09,2019

Palestinian protesters carry away a man injured during confrontations following a demonstration along the border with Israel east of Bureij in the central Gaza Strip on Friday (AFP photo)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — The Israeli army said it targeted Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip overnight, claiming that it is responding to a “drone attack” from the Palestinian enclave.

The Israeli strikes late Saturday came after two days of cross-border fire in which two Palestinian teenagers were killed.

An Egyptian delegation, meanwhile, arrived in the Gaza Strip on Sunday as part of efforts to keep alive a fragile truce between Hamas and Israel, a Hamas source said.

The truce was negotiated by Egyptian and UN officials with aid from Qatar to end several severe flare-ups of violence in recent months.

Following the Saturday claim of a drone attack, Israeli fighter jets and a drone "struck a number of Hamas military targets, including offensive naval equipment and two military compounds", the army said.

It said it "holds Hamas responsible for all that transpires in the Gaza Strip and emanates from it".

A security source in Gaza said Israeli warplanes raided four positions of the Al Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, in central and northern Gaza, causing damage but "no injuries".

An Israeli aircraft targeted a squad that it said launched the drone, but there were no injuries in that raid.

On Friday, two Palestinian teenagers were killed by Israeli fire during clashes on the Gaza border, while another 46 sustained bullet wounds, according to Gaza's health ministry.

Israeli forces said thousands of Palestinians took part in demonstrations along the border.

Palestinians have been holding regular mass protests along the fortified border since March 2018.

The protesters have called on Israel to end its crippling siege of the coastal enclave and demanded the right to return to lands their families fled during the war that accompanied the creation of Israel in 1948.

Israel says any such return would mean its end and accuses Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas of using the protests as cover for attacks.

Around 210 Palestinians have been killed since the protests began in March 2018, Gaza medical officials say.

In that period, an Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper along the frontier, and another was killed during an Israeli undercover raid into Gaza.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

There have been concerns about a possible violent escalation in the run-up to Israel's September 17 general election.

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