Palestinians gather around a car that was targeted by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on June 27, 2014
Palestinians gather around a car that was targeted by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on June 27, 2014 © Mohammed Abed - AFP
Palestinians gather around a car that was targeted by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on June 27, 2014
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AFP
Last updated: June 27, 2014

Israeli air raid kills two Palestinians in Gaza

An Israeli air strike on a car in the Gaza Strip killed two Palestinians Friday, medics said, hours after a bomb exploded near troops manning Israel's security fence.

The violence comes a day after Israel accused two men it said belong to Hamas of kidnapping three Israeli teenagers in the occupied West Bank a fortnight ago.

Israel responded to the kidnapping by staging a vast crackdown on the West Bank network of Hamas, which governed Gaza until a recent Palestinian unity deal was struck, and has arrested hundreds of its Islamist foe's members.

"The remains of two martyrs killed in an Israeli raid on a car were taken to the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza," a spokesman for Gaza's health services, Ashraf al-Qudra, told AFP.

He named them as Osama al-Hassumi, 29, and Mohammed Fasih, 24.

The Israeli army confirmed the strike, saying the pair were involved in the rockets launched at Israel in the past week.

Earlier Friday, five Palestinians in Gaza were wounded by Israeli tank fire in response to the detonation of the border bomb.

Qudra said they were hurt when the tanks targeted "two mosque minarets" east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza.

An 11-year-old boy was in serious condition from that attack, he said.

The Israeli military said "an explosive device was activated against (army) forces operating adjacent to the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip," causing no injuries.

"The force responded with tank fire towards lookout posts used to guide the attack against the forces," it said.

An army spokeswoman said nine explosive devices have been set off at Israeli forces near the border with Gaza since the beginning of the year.

While there has been no recent rise in roadside explosions near Gaza, there has been a noticeable uptick in Palestinian rocket fire at Israel in recent weeks, leading to air strikes by Israel.

Palestinian medics said the air raids struck near the home of Ismail Haniya, former Hamas prime minister who stepped down June 2 when Gaza and the West Bank set up a unity government.

Israel has put Hamas under intense pressure since the June 12 disappearance of the three Israeli teens, saying the Islamist movement kidnapped the boys and arresting hundreds of its members.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the international community to press Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to end his reconciliation deal with Hamas, citing the alleged kidnapping as proof the movement's "terrorist" activities make it an unsuitable political partner.

On Thursday, Israel accused Marwan Kawasmeh and Amer Abu Eisheh, two men it said belong to Hamas, of the kidnap.

Hamas dismissed that as a front for Israel's "failure" to find the boys.

Israel has provided no proof for Hamas's involvement in the boys' disappearance, and the movement has said it has no information on the incident.

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