Three dead as Israeli air force pounds GazaAgence France-Presse . Gaza City
Israeli war planes pounded the Gaza Strip on Monday, killing two more Islamic Jihad militants, as medics said the death toll in four days of bloodshed rose to 21.
Among the dead was a teenager who was killed on Monday morning in what the Palestinians claimed was a drone strike, but the Israeli military denied carrying out activity in the area at the time.
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has vowed to continue targeting militants for ‘as long as necessary’ and several hours later, Israeli war planes carried out at least eight strikes, killing two and injuring 37.
The two militants, who were killed around Khan Yunis, were both from Islamic Jihad and named as Raafat Abu Eid and Hamada Suleiman Abu Mutlaq, both 24.
Shortly afterwards, a blast killed 15-year-old Nayef Qarmut and injured six other teenagers, two critically, near the northern town of Beit Lahiya.
‘A drone strike hit a group of students who were walking by empty land on their way to school,’ emergency services spokesman Adham Abu Selmiya said.
But the Israeli military denied activity in the area at the time, and an AFP correspondent at the scene confirmed there was no sign of an air strike.
‘From an initial check, there were no air strikes in the northern Gaza Strip since the early hours of the morning,’ a military spokesman said.
The latest fatalities brought to 21 the Palestinian death toll from a weekend of tit-for-tat violence that began with Israel’s killing of a senior militant on Friday afternoon.
Abu Selmiya said 73 people had been injured
since the bloodshed began, adding that Israel had carried out 36 air strikes on the territory.
The army confirmed it carried out six strikes before dawn on Monday, targeting a weapons storage facility and five rocket-launching sites across Gaza.
A spokeswoman said militants had fired more than 20 rockets at Israel since midnight, raising the number fired since Friday to 180, 46 of which were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system.
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