Saturday, 21 September, 2019

Israel strikes Gaza after rocket attack

Palestinians watch a protest at the Israel Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip Palestinians watch a protest at the Israel Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip
Deanna Wagner | 10 September, 2019, 20:43

Two Palestinian teenagers have been killed by Israeli gunfire during a protest along the Israel-Gaza border fence.

The overnight raid comes after PM Benjamin Netanyahu - who is aggressively campaigning for re-election after his failure to secure a coalition government - vowed a "vigorous response" to Hamas.

The Zionist regime of Israel launched a lengthy bombardment of positions in the Gaza Strip, sources inside the besieged enclave say.

It also came a day after Israelis launched attacks on five positions inside Gaza. "Any attempt to harm our citizens and our soldiers will be met with a forceful response", Netanyahu declared in a statement on Saturday, according to Times of Israel.

The Israeli army shelled two observation posts near a fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, witnesses said late Friday.

Three 13-year-olds crossed the border from the southern Gaza Strip, and a search revealed a knife, the army said in a statement.

Egypt, Qatar and United Nations officials have been working to keep the border calm in recent months.

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It said the protesters threw "a large amount of explosive devices, grenades and firebombs" and damaged parts of the border fence.

A deal had been brokered several months ago by United Nations and Egyptian officials to end recent violent flare-ups between Israel and Hamas, which have fought three devastating wars since 2008, and to help stabilize the territory and prevent a humanitarian collapse, the Times of Israel said.

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

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

Israeli forces have violently cracked down on the overwhelmingly peaceful protests, using live fire and tear gas in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators and push them back from the frontier.

Palestinians have held weekly rallies in the area since past year to protest the siege on the enclave and stress the right to return of the refugees who have fled Israeli aggression since 1948.