Three Palestinian youths killed in Israeli air strike on Gaza: Ministry
Three Palestinians youths were killed on Sunday in an Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip, the Health Ministry in the besieged enclave said.
The Health Ministry in Gaza told Middle East Eye that Palestinian Red Crescent crews were transporting the bodies of the three from the eastern area between Khan Younis and Deir al- Balah to the Nasser Medical compound.
The ministry identified the boys as: Khaled Bassam Saeed, 14; Abdul Hamid Abu Zaher, 13, and Mohammed Ibrahim al-Sattari, 13.
The Israeli military said one of its aircraft had fired on a group of Palestinians near the fence separating Gaza and Israel, according to AFP.
"A short while ago, three Palestinians approached the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip, attempted to damage it and were apparently involved in placing an improvised explosive device adjacent to it," a statement said.
"In response, an IDF (Israel Defence Forces) aircraft fired towards them," it added.
Tensions have been high along the Gaza-Israel frontier since Palestinians began a wave of protests along the separation fence in March.
More than 200 Palestinians have been killed and at least 10,000 wounded by Israeli forces since the beginning of the Great March of Return on 30 March. One Israeli soldier has been killed during the violence over the same period.
Israel and Palestinian fighters from Hamas-ruled Gaza have fought three wars since 2008.
Several military flare-ups have occurred in the months since the protests began, prompting fears of a new war between the two sides.
The latest came when Palestinian fighters on Friday and Saturday fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel, which responded with extensive air strikes.
The Israeli army carried out scores of air strikes across Gaza in the early hours of Saturday, in the highest-intensity offensive on the coastal Palestinian territory since the summer.
The Israeli army launched at least 87 air strikes, Israeli news outlet Ynet reported, saying it was in response to 34 rockets fired from the enclave into southern Israel.
Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the rockets, saying in a statement that they were in retaliation for the Israeli army's killing of five Palestinian protesters on Friday.
The violence came to an end after Islamic Jihad said it had agreed to an Egyptian-brokered truce.
About 200 Israeli residents of communities bordering Gaza protested in Tel Aviv on Sunday against the government's policies, demanding a stronger government response in Gaza.