Gaza City: Israeli forces on Wednesday
attacked a group of suspected Palestinian militants believed
to have been planting a bomb along Gaza`s border with the
Jewish state, the Israeli military said. Palestinian officials
said two people were killed and two wounded.
Gaza`s militant Hamas rulers said the victims were all
civilians and said it held Israel responsible, raising the
prospect of a new exchange of attacks across the volatile
"The Ministry of Interior and all its security forces are
ready to deal with any new escalation," said Ihab Ghussein,
spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
The Israeli military said aircraft and tanks participated
in the attack after the militants were spotted along the
border. "An explosion was identified, originating from the
explosive device the terrorists attempted to plant," it said.
Gaza`s Health Ministry spokesman Adham Abu Salmia said
two people, one of them a 17-year-old youth, were killed. Two
other men were wounded. He said the victims were unarmed, and
relatives of the dead men said they were setting traps for
birds near the buffer zone.
No militant group claimed them as members.
Hamas, a militant Islamist group that opposes peace with
Israel, has controlled Gaza since taking over the territory
from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.
Israel and Hamas have largely honoured a truce since a
fierce Israeli military offencive in Gaza three years ago.
Smaller militant groups continue to battle Israel along the
border, and fire rockets into southern Israel.
Israel says it holds Hamas responsible for all violence
emanating from the seaside strip.