Palestinian teen`s murder fuels border tension as Israeli air strikes pound Gaza

The furore over the brutal murder of a Palestinian teenager in `revenge killing` manifested itself in the form of heightened conflict across the Israel-Gaza border with continued rounds of mortar and rocket firing from both sides.

By Supriya Jha | Updated: Jul 07, 2014, 14:07 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Jerusalem: The furore over the brutal murder of a Palestinian teenager in `revenge killing` manifested itself in the form of heightened conflict across the Israel-Gaza border with continued rounds of mortar and rocket firing from both sides.

Nine members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas have been killed in Israeli strike, which Israel says, were launched in retaliation to 25 mortar and rocket attacks by Gaza, the day before.

According to Hamas, six of its men were killed in a single air strike near Rafah, while other three were killed in separate attacks from Israel in response.

"Nine Hamas fighters were killed and four people were wounded in the attacks," the group`s armed wing `Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades` said in a statement.

Writing on his Facebook page, Sami Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesman in Gaza, vowed revenge against Israel saying, "This is a serious escalation and the enemy will pay the price".

The increased firing from Gaza can be understood from the fact that Israel arrested hundreds of Hamas in search for the kidnappers of three Israeli teenagers, who were killed last month.

According to Israeli Deefence Forces (IDF), At least 150 rockets have landed in Israeli territory since June 14 when the West Bank operation was begun to find three Israeli teens kidnapped and murdered by Hamas.

Speaking in a weekly Cabinet meeting, PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged the Arab leaders "to show responsibility and come out against the wave of disturbances in order to restore quiet".  

Also, showing restraint over the border tension with Gaza, he said, "Experience has proved that at moments like this, we have to act responsibly and with a cool head and not with harsh words and impetuousness". 

At the heart of the recent escalation of conflict is the abduction and murder of three Israeli teen students, who were allegedly killed by Hamas militants.

However, the Palestinian militant group has denied any role.

What added fuel to the fire was a revenge killing, in which a Palestinian teenager named Mohammed Abu Khdair was abducted and burnt to death.

The brutal murder of the Palestinian teenager sparked fierce clashes and protests across a bunch of Arab towns and leaders from Israel and Palestine both condemned the murder.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu too denounced the murder, vowing to punish the perpetrators.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, on the other hand, said he had asked UN chief Ban Ki-moon to form "an international investigative committee" to probe Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people. 

Meanwhile, six Jewish extremists were held over the suspicion of murdering the Palestinian teen in so-called revenge attack.

Police on Sunday said that the teenager was killed “apparently because of his nationality".