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Israeli airstrike kills 2 Palestinians in Gaza

March 4, 2014 9:55 A.M. (Updated: March 5, 2014 4:43 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (AFP) -- An Israeli airstrike on the northern Gaza Strip killed two Palestinians and wounded two others on Monday, the emergency services in Gaza said.

Emergency services chief Ashraf al-Qidra told AFP that Musab Moussa al-Zaaneen, a man in his early 20s, was killed in the raid on farmland near the town of Beit Hanoun.

He later added that Sharif Nasser, 31, had died of injuries sustained in the attack.

The Israeli military spokesman's office said the target was a Palestinian "rocket-launching squad".

"Israel Air Force aircraft targeted terrorists preparing to launch rockets in the northern Gaza Strip," it said in a statement.

"The mission was carried out in order to eliminate an imminent attack targeting civilian communities of southern Israel."

Israeli media had earlier reported a failed rocket attack, with the projectile apparently falling short and landing within the Gaza Strip.

On Friday an Israeli air strike destroyed a rocket launch site in Gaza which also represented "an imminent threat," the army said at the time.

No casualties were reported in the attack.

Monday's strike occurred as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met US President Barack Obama to discuss the future of the peace process with the Palestinians.

Israeli forces killed six Palestinians and injured 41 in attacks on Gaza in January, al-Qidra said in early February.
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