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2 Palestinians said killed in strike near Gaza-Egypt border

Hamas claims raid was Israeli response to rockets fired from Sinai at Eilat; IDF denies it carried out attack

A picture taken from the southern Gaza Strip shows Egyptian soldiers patrolling the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing on February 9, 2017. (AFP/SAID KHATIB)
A picture taken from the southern Gaza Strip shows Egyptian soldiers patrolling the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing on February 9, 2017. (AFP/SAID KHATIB)

Two Palestinians were killed and five were injured overnight Wednesday in the southern Strip, near the Egypt border, health officials in the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave said Thursday morning.

A Hamas official told AFP they were casualties of an Israeli airstrike carried out in retaliation for rockets launched from the neighboring Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday night toward the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat. Reports said they were targeted inside a tunnel in Rafah.

The IDF denied it had carried out an airstrike.

Three of the four rockets in Wednesday’s attack on Eilat were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile system, the army said.

A military spokesperson said the fourth rocket was not shot down by the missile defense battery as it was headed toward an open field.

Sinai Province, the Islamic State affiliate in the peninsula, claimed the rocket attack on Eilat early Thursday. The group has been waging a bloody battle against Egyptian forces in recent years.

The last rockets fired at Eilat from the Sinai Peninsula were launched during the 2014 summer war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip. The two projectiles struck in the center of the city, hitting a car and causing light injuries to seven people.

Hours before Wednesday’s attack, a mortar shell struck the Golan Heights, at Israel’s northern tip, causing neither injury nor damage.

In response, the army shelled a Syrian military position in the northern Golan Heights, the army said.

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