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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

Israel tank fire on Hamas outpost kills two 

The Israeli military claim the tank targeted gunmen who were shooting from a watchtower

A relative of a Hamas militant killed in an Israeli tank shelling is consoled at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. Reuters
A relative of a Hamas militant killed in an Israeli tank shelling is consoled at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. Reuters

Israeli tank fire killed two members of Hamas in Gaza on Tuesday in a strike the Israeli military said was launched against a position from which its troops had come under fire.

Hamas and Palestinian health officials in Gaza confirmed the deaths near Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, shortly before noon.

Hamas's military wing, the Qassam Brigades, issued a statement saying that it "mourns the two Mujahedeen" and that had been "martyred in a Zionist bombardment."

A statement by the Israeli military said: "A short while ago, terrorists fired shots towards [Israeli] soldiers near the northern Gaza Strip from a Hamas post. In response, an [Israeli] tank targeted the post from which the shots were fired."

The military released footage that it said was of the incident. One of the grainy black and white video clips shows two men in a watchtower, one appears to open fire as puffs of smoke burst in front of him. The video then cuts to separate footage of a shell hitting the post and an explosion. Reuters was unable to verify the footage.

U.N. and Egyptian-led efforts are under way to mediate a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas that would end a four-month upsurge of violence along the Israel-Gaza border.

At least 158 Palestinians have been killed in four months of weekly border protests and one Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Gaza sniper.

Israel says Hamas, which rules Gaza, is using the protests as cover to carry out cross-border attacks. Hamas denies this.

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Palestinians groups have also fired rockets into Israel and the Israeli military has carried out dozens of air strikes in the enclave.

Israel has lost tracts of farmland and forest to fires started by kites and helium balloons laden with incendiary material which have been flown over the border by Palestinians in Gaza.