Gaza City: Two Palestinians were killed today as Israel unleashed a wave of air strikes against the Gaza Strip, while scores of rockets were fired back from the Hamas-run territory. The Palestinian teenagers Luay Kaheel and Amir al-Nimra aged 16 and 15 respectively were killed when an Israeli strike hit a building they were near in the west of Gaza City, the enclave’s health ministry said.
Fifteen people have been wounded across Gaza, the ministry said. The two teenagers died on Saturday minutes after an Israeli air raid hit the rooftop of a building in Gaza where they were playing.
According to news published in Al-Jazeera which quoted mother of Luay Kaheel said that “I heard an explosion, and instinctively knew that something had happened to my son,” Umm Luay, 33. The young mother had just arrived home when the air raid struck the building in al-Kateeba square, located next to a park frequented by Palestinian families during the summer months.
She further narrated that “I first heard that Amir was killed, and it was then that I knew,” she said. “I ran to the hospital and began looking for my son, frantically.” Upon her arrival at al-Shifa hospital, a group of men immediately broke the news to Umm Luay – her son had also lost his life.
الشهيدان الطفلان أمير النمرة (15 عاماً) و لؤي كحيل (16 عاماً) اللذان ارتقيا خلال قصف طيران الاحتلال لساحة الكتيبة غرب غزة. pic.twitter.com/kTJi2h4asA
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The flare-up came after Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians, including a teenager, and wounded hundreds of others in border clashes yesterday, the latest in months of protests.
The Israeli raids today involved the “largest daytime operation” carried out by its air force in Gaza since a war in 2014, Israel’s military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told journalists.
Israel’s armed forces said dozens of strikes targeted military facilities belonging to the Gaza Strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas, against which it has fought three wars over the past decade.
In the other direction “more than 60 rockets” were fired at southern Israel from Gaza, the Israeli military said, of which “approximately 10 rockets were intercepted”.
Today the Israeli military said it was conducting strikes against Hamas “in response to the terror acts instigated during the violent riots that took place along the security fence” the day before.
Among the main targets was the “Hamas Battalion HQ in Beit Lahia, which includes urban warfare training facilities, (a) weapon storage warehouse, training compounds, command centres, offices and more”, the Israeli army said in a statement.
“A weapons manufacturing site and storage facilities housing various types of weapons, including Hamas’ naval capabilities” were also hit, the statement added.
The Israeli army said air strikes carried out in the morning hit “complexes used to prepare arson terror attacks and a Hamas terror training facility”.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the group was responsible for today’s barrage against Israel and that it was carried out “in response to the Israeli air strikes”.
“The protection and the defence of our people is a national duty and a strategic choice,” Barhoum said.
Palestinians in Gaza have for months been demonstrating against Israel’s decade-long blockade of the territory and in support of their right to return to lands they fled or were driven from during the war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.
In fresh violence Friday, a 15-year-old was shot dead during the demonstrations and a 20-year-old died later of gunshot wounds sustained during the protest, the Gaza health ministry said.
Since the protests and clashes broke out along the border on March 30, at least 141 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.
The majority of those killed were involved in protests and clashes but others were seeking to breach or damage the border fence.
No Israelis have been killed, but officials said one soldier was injured by a grenade yesterday.
Molotov cocktails, flaming tyres and stones were also hurled in the direction of its soldiers according to the Israeli army.
Israel says its use of live fire is necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations.
It accuses Hamas of seeking to use the protests as cover for attacks against Israel.
Siasat Web Team