AFP
Last updated: 18 January, 2012

Israel raid kills one, wounds two in Gaza

An Israeli air raid on the northern Gaza Strip killed two Palestinians and wounded a third on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Hamas-run emergency services told AFP.

“We recovered one martyr and two other people with injuries after the air raid carried out by occupation aircraft in Beit Hanun,” spokesman Adham Abu Selmiya told AFP, naming the dead man as Mohammed Abu Awda, 23.

One of those who had been in critical condition died later of his wounds, he said, naming him as Khaled al-Zaanin, 17.

The strike hit a field used by Hamas militants just east of Beit Hanun, Palestinian security sources said.

But Abu Selmiya said the two were civilians who were “setting traps for birds” in the border area.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the target was “a terrorist squad that was attempting to place an explosive device by the security fence” in the second such incident this year.

She said an Israeli aircraft and the armoured corps had fired at the squad, and the device that they were trying to plant had exploded.

In 2011, there were “approximately 30 such incidents,” she added.

On Wednesday evening, Gaza militants fired a rocket at Israel, a military spokeswoman told AFP. It struck an open field in the Hof Ashkelon regional council, causing no injuries or damage.

In a statement, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is linked to the Fatah movement of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, claimed responsibility for the rocket.

The skies over Gaza have remained largely calm since the beginning of the year, with the army counting just six rockets fired into southern Israel.

Wednesday’s air strike was the first in 2012.

Last month, eight Gazans were killed in a series of Israeli air strikes, six of them militants.

The last deadly incident was on December 30 when Israeli warplanes killed a militant near Gaza City, whom the military described as a “senior operative in the global jihad movement.”