Army kills 2 teenagers in Gaza 20Mar11

The bodies of two Gaza teenagers were retrieved by Palestinian medics late Sunday morning, after being killed by Israeli fire some 12 hours earlier in the border area east of Gaza City.

Medical crews said they were only permitted to access the site, east of Juhor Addik and north of the Al-Bureij refugee camp, when they got a call advising them of the deaths Sunday morning.

The bodies were taken to the Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where they were identified as Imad Farajallah, 17, and Qasim Salah Iteiwa, 17, both from the An-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said Sunday that soldiers fired at two men approaching the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel. The army official told Ma’an that forces identified a hit, but she could not confirm that they were killed.

However, the Israeli daily Haaretz and Israeli news site Ynet reported on Saturday night that both men were killed, quoting a military spokesperson. The reports came out hours before medics were notified.

Palestinian medical sources told Ma’an on Sunday morning that they had not yet received any information from Israeli officials about the attack.

Israeli authorities usually inform Palestinian medics about such incidents through liaison officers, medical officials added.

Israeli forces are on high alert near the borders with the Gaza Strip after Palestinian resistance fighters launched over 50 mortar shells and homemade projectiles across the border on Saturday.

Ma’an’s reporter said Israeli military tanks struck targets near the borders in the northern and central Gaza Strip late on Saturday night. Israeli missiles and artillery shells landed in Juhor Ad-Dik, east of the Al-Bureij refugee camp, and in agricultural fields east of Gaza City. No injuries have been reported from those incidents.

Meanwhile, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, the An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades, said its fighters fired a Grad-style missile into the western Negev on Saturday evening.

The group said the shelling was a natural response to the ongoing Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Livni calls for another Cast Lead

On Saturday, Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni said the escalation in mortar fire called for a new military campaign against the coastal enclave.

“The right way to deal with it is with force, just like Israel did during and after Operation Cast Lead,” news website Ynet quoted her as telling local authority heads in the border region.

Israeli forces killed more than 1,400 Palestinians during the December 2008- January 2009 offensive, more than half of whom were women and children. Thirteen Israelis, 10 of them soldiers, were killed in the 22-day attack.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would use “all necessary means to protect its citizens” in a statement from his office.

In January, Gaza’s main militant factions confirmed a year-old truce after weeks of increased rocket fire and spiraling tensions along the border prompted a warning from Arab leaders that Gaza was risking a major new Israeli invasion.

( / 20.03.2011)

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