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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Three Palestinians killed by Israeli tank fire in Gaza

The attack followed the death of wounded Israeli soldier

Ronen Lubarsky, was a soldier from an elite army unit. Atef Safadi / EPA
Ronen Lubarsky, was a soldier from an elite army unit. Atef Safadi / EPA

Three Palestinians were killed by tank fire on Sunday, hours after an Israeli soldier wounded in a West Bank raid died.

The Gazan health ministry said the incident happened east of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, and identified those killed as Hussein Al Amour, 25, and Abdul Haleem Al Naqa, 28, and Marwa Al Amour, 25.

A statement from the armed wing of the Al Quds Brigades claimed them as members.

Israel's military said in a statement that the tank fire came after soldiers detonated an explosive device that had been placed near the border fence, targeting its troops.

Also on Sunday hundreds of people attended the burial of Ronen Lubarsky, 20, of the elite Duvdevan special forces unit. He was buried on Sunday morning in the Mt Herzl national cemetery in Jerusalem.

Mr Lubarsky died on Saturday, two days after being struck on the head by a granite slab dropped from a third-floor window, according to Israeli media.

Palestinian sources said the incident took place during a night-time operation to arrest suspects in Al Amari refugee camp in the city of Ramallah.

"The security forces will reach the terrorist and the state of Israel will bring him to reckoning," a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office quoted him as saying.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke of "justice" for Mr Lubarsky.

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Amari camp, home to 15,000 Palestinians, is a regular flashpoint where Israeli raids have sparked fierce clashes in the past.

Separately on Saturday night, the Israeli military struck two Hamas targets, but there were no reports of casualties.

This operation, according to the military, was in response to a brief incursion by Palestinians across the border earlier on Saturday.

It added that the strike was also in retaliation to repeated Palestinian attempts to damage the border fence and "security infrastructure" during ongoing border protests.

At least 118 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip since mass protests and clashes broke out on March 30, according to figures from the Gazan health ministry.

No Israelis have been killed during that time.

Low-level demonstrations along the border have continued since protests peaked on May 14, when at least 61 Palestinians died as tens of thousands of Gazans protested against the US moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.