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Medics: New airstrike kills 3 in Gaza

Sept. 6, 2012 9:25 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 7, 2012 7:13 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- An Israeli airstrike on the northern Gaza Strip killed three Palestinians and injured three others, in the second deadly attack in 24 hours, medics said.

Witnesses told Ma’an that an Israeli warplane fired flachette ammunition near the agricultural college east of Beit Hanoun, killing three people and wounding three others.

Villagers who knew the men said they belonged to a small Islamist militant group known as Homat al-Aqsa. Their bodies were taken to a local hospital.

In a statement, the Israeli military said that "IDF soldiers targeted a terrorist squad that was planting an explosive device near the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip."

The statement added: "A hit was confirmed."

An army spokesman also responded to allegations from medics that they prevented ambulances from approaching the scene, saying they entered the area "without coordination" with Israel.

"The ambulances arrived in the area, without coordination, while IDF soldiers were still operating to thwart the squad," the spokesman told Ma'an.

"As a result, and for the sake of their personal security, the ambulances were requested by the (District Coordination Office) to distance themselves from the scene until it was safe for them to come near."

Hours earlier, an airstrike killed three gunmen as they tried to launch short-range rockets on Wednesday.

Medical officials and witnesses confirmed that three militants had been killed in the attack near Bureij, in central Gaza. They did not immediately give the dead men's factional affiliation but said they did not belong to Hamas.

"The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip," the Israeli military said in an initial statement.

The statement said the men targeted from the air had previously fired rockets across the border and were preparing to do so again.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's armed wing claimed responsibility for launching an attack from eastern Gaza, saying it was in response to Israel's escalation.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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