Jerusalem, Aug 7 (IANS) At least two Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, according to a Gaza Health Ministry spokesman.
Spokesman Ashraf al-Qedra identified those killed in the northern part of the coastal enclave as Abdel Hafez Mohamed, 23, and Ahmed Abdullah, 23, adding that no injuries had been reported, Efe news reported.
The Israeli Army said that “terrorists fired shots towards IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) soldiers near the northern Gaza Strip from a Hamas post”.
“In response, an IDF tank targeted the post from which the shots were fired. No injuries to IDF troops were reported,” the statement posted to Twitter added.
Tensions between Israel and Gaza have escalated since weekly border protests started on March 30, which left more than 150 Palestinians dead and 17,500 others injured, according to statistics released by the Gaza Health Ministry.
The “Great March of Return” protests sought the right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, who according to the UN make up around two-thirds of Gaza’s population, to return to their homeland inside what is now Israel.
Israel accuses the Islamist Hamas movement, which has been controlling the coastal enclave since 2007, of using the protests as a cover to damage the border fence, infiltrate the Israeli territory and launch attacks.