After border attack, Israeli shells kill four

 

Jerusalem

Palestinian militants fired an antitank missile at an Israeli army vehicle on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on Saturday, wounding four soldiers and prompting Israeli shelling that local medical officials said killed four Palestinian civilians and wounded 25 others.

The flare-up, one of the worst in months, followed a series of recent incidents in which explosive devices were detonated near Israeli forces operating on both sides of the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

An Israeli army spokesman said that on Saturday an antitank missile was directed at a military patrol along the fence and that in response, the army "targeted several sites in the Gaza Strip" with tank fire.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a small militant faction in Gaza, asserted responsibility for the border attack, saying it had fired two antitank missiles.

The Israeli shelling hit a densely populated neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, with some rounds landing near a tent where people had gathered to pay condolences to a family in mourning, according to reports from the scene.

Ashraf al-Kidra, a spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said that all four of those killed were civilians ages 16 to 18, and that the wounded included children.

Rami Harra told the Associated Press that his 17-year-old brother, Muhammad Harra, had been killed in the shelling. "He went out to see what happened, and when he started to help evacuating wounded people who were on the ground, another shell hit the place and killed him," Rami Harra said outside a Gaza morgue, according to the AP report. "Why did they kill him? I can't believe that I am seeing his dead body."

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the military had "responded harshly" to the border attack and that "more responses will be considered in the coming days."

"We will not tolerate a deterioration of events on the border fence," he added.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the Islamist group Hamas, which rules Gaza, threatened retaliation for what he said was the targeting of civilians. "The resistance has the full right to respond to the Israeli crimes," Barhoum said in a text message to reporters.

At least 15 rockets fired from Gaza later slammed into southern Israel, causing no casualties, police said. The Israeli army said it held Hamas "solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip."

Saturday's violence came after an uptick in incidents near the border fence.

On Thursday, an explosives-packed tunnel blew up near Israeli troops, destroying an empty army vehicle and lightly injuring a soldier. Palestinians later reported that a 13-year-old boy was killed by Israeli gunfire.

On Oct. 23, an Israeli officer lost a hand when an explosive device detonated at the border fence.

Hamas has generally refrained from firing rockets at Israel since a large-scale Israeli offensive in Gaza nearly four years ago that killed hundreds of Palestinians. But although Hamas has sought to rein in smaller militant factions, those groups have often fired at Israel in response to drone strikes targeting their members.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month