Deadly Israeli air raid targets two Palestinians

Israel says one of the Palestinians had fired rockets during Ariel Sharon’s funeral this month

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An overnight Israeli air raid on the Gaza Strip has killed two Palestinian members of Islamic Jihad, the Israeli army said on Tuesday.

Ahmad al Zaaneen, 21, and Mohammed al Zaaneen, 23,had been traveling in a car when it was hit near the northern Beit Hanoun.


In a statement, the army said that “a terrorist involved in recent rocket attacks against Israel” had been the target, adding that one of the men had been a key figure in the far-left Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and had been involved in the firing of rockets during the burial this month of former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to teach Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement a lesson “very soon” following a surge in militant rocket attacks on Israel.

“We have a very clear policy. We prevent terror attacks when we identify them in the making, and we respond forcefully against whoever hurts us,” Netanyahu told reporters at a press conference with his visiting Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper.

“This policy produced a quiet year in 2013, which was the quietest in many years. If Hamas and the terror organizations have forgotten this lesson, they will learn it again powerfully very soon.”

His warning was issued shortly after Hamas said it had deployed forces in Gaza to “preserve the truce” following an uptick of rocket fire on Israel.

Over the past month, tensions have risen in and around Gaza after more than a year of relative calm following a major Israeli confrontation with Hamas in November 2012.

According to Agence France-Presse, six Palestinians and an Israeli have been killed in violence in and around Gaza since Dec. 20, with militant rocket fire sparking retaliatory air strikes by Israel.

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