Nine Palestinian militants killed in overnight airstrikes by Israeli forces

Hamas has vowed to avenge the deaths, promising Israel "will pay a tremendous price"

Overnight airstrikes on the Gaza Strip have killed nine militants, Hamas says, as it promises to reap revenge for the deaths.

Israeli military said it had been responding to more than 25 rockets and mortars launched across the barrier, as deadly fighting escalates following the death of Palestinian and Israeli teenagers.

Hamas said “the enemy will pay a tremendous price” for the killing of seven of its members in a tunnel in Rafah, in addition to a further two who died in separate airstrikes on the same night.

A statement from the Israeli army said it “has succeeded in stopping another attack against Israel by targeting terrorists who are implicated in launching rockets from central Gaza,” Al Jazeera reports.

It comes as tensions boil over following the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers and the death of a Palestinian teenager shortly afterwards.

 

Six Israeli suspects were arrested yesterday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to bring those responsible for the latter murder to justice.

Arab teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, was burned to death, the Palestinian attorney-general said on Saturday, after he was captured near his home in East Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Natanyahu has sought to deal with claims that the boy’s death was retaliation for the killing of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, whose bodies were found in a shallow grave three weeks after they want missing on 12 June.

A Palestinian man has been arrested in connection with their deaths.

“We will not allow extremists, it doesn't matter from which side, to inflame the region and cause bloodshed,” Mr Netanyahu said in a televised statement following the arrest of the Israeli suspects.

“Murder is murder, incitement is incitement, and we will respond aggressively to both.”

Mourners following the deaths of the fighters Israel confirmed it carried out strikes on at least “14 terror sites” including “concealed rocket launchers” in Gaza, killing seven fighters from the armed wing of Hamas, Al Qassam.

Israeli forces say that more than 150 rockets have been launched from Gaza since 14 June when the fresh violence erupted.

Mr Netanyahu said at a government meeting on Sunday that Israel must act “with composure and responsibly" and not with “militancy or rashness,” the Jerusalem Post reports.

Israeli soldiers gather at a military staging area The mother of the murdered Palestinian teenager said the arrests of the Israelis gave little solace.

“I don’t have any peace in my heart, even if they captured who they say killed my son,” the boy's mother, Suha, said.

“They’re only going to ask them questions and then release them. What’s the point?”

“They need to treat them the way they treat us,” she added.

“They need to demolish their homes and round them up, the way they do it to our children.”

READ MORE: Mohammed Abu Khdeir was 'burned to death'
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