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Medics: Airstrike kills 2 in central Gaza

July 5, 2011 4:27 P.M. (Updated: July 6, 2011 5:41 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Two Palestinians were killed and a third was injured Tuesday as Israeli aircraft fired a missile at the central Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical officials said.

Two bodies and an injured man were evacuated from the village of Al-Musaddar in central Gaza to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital.

Medics identified the victims as Muhammad Said Abu Jazar and Kamal Abu Muammar and said the injured man was in serious condition. He was not identified.

"Two people were killed and one was injured in a drone attack east of the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip," emergency services spokesman Adham Abu Selmiya said.

Earlier he had said the explosion was a result of artillery shells.

Israel's military said the strike targeted a group of Palestinians preparing to launch rockets: "An air force aircraft thwarted the attempt by firing at them. A hit was confirmed."

Local witnesses told AFP the men were trying to fire rockets when they were hit, however, no militant group claimed responsibility.

In a statement, Israel's military said it would "continue to operate with strength and determination against any organization which uses terror against the State of Israel."

The army also accused Hamas of not doing enough to stop projectiles.

Three rockets fired from Gaza hit Israeli territory this week, the army said calling it evidence that Hamas "is not enforcing a policy of restraint over the terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip."

They three rockets were the first fired from Gaza since June 16 but the border between Gaza and Israel has been largely calm in recent months.

In early April, tensions ratcheted up after a series of tit-for-tat strikes and a rocket-propelled grenade fired from Gaza that struck an Israeli school bus, killing a teenager.

Israel launched a series of airstrikes that killed at least 19 Palestinians in the deadliest violence since Israel's devastating 22-day Operation Cast Lead on the Palestinian territory in 2008-2009.

The violence raised fears of another such assault, but on April 10 the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip declared a return to the truce that ended Cast Lead in January 2009, and the calm has largely held since then.

AFP contributed to this report.

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