Israeli drone attack kills two militants in Gaza

Date: 7/5/2011

By Mahmud Hams | AFP – Tue, Jul 5, 2011

An Israeli drone strike killed two Palestinian militants and wounded another in the central Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Palestinian medics and the army said.

"Two people were killed and one was injured in a drone attack east of the Al–Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip," emergency services spokesman Adham Abu Selmiya told AFP, adding the strike occurred near the border fence with Israel.

Earlier he had said the explosion was a result of artillery shells.

The Israeli military said they were militants trying to fire rockets into Israel.

"A squad of terrorists preparing to launch rockets at Israeli territory from the central Gaza Strip were identified by an Israeli Air force aircraft that thwarted the attempt by firing at them. A hit was confirmed," an army statement said.

Local witnesses said the men were trying to fire rockets when they were hit, however, no militant group claimed responsibility.

Selmiya identified the two men as Mohammed Said Abu Jazar and Kamal Hamdan Muammar, both aged 28 from Rafah in southern Gaza.

On Sunday a rocket fired from Gaza struck open fields in southern Israel causing no damage or injuries. The army said two other projectiles were also fired Saturday. They were the first fired from Gaza since June 16 but the border between Gaza and Israel has been largely calm in recent months.

In early April, tensions ratcheted up after a rocket–propelled grenade fired from Gaza struck an Israeli school bus, killing a teenager.

Israel responded with a series of air strikes that killed at least 19 Palestinians in the deadliest violence since Israel's devastating 22–day Operation Cast Lead on the Palestinian territory in 2008–2009.

The violence raised fears of another such assault, but on April 10 the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip declared a return to the truce that ended Cast Lead in January 2009, and the calm has largely held since then.


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