Middle East

Israeli strikes kill two in Gaza

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Media captionFirefighters tried to put out the fires following the air strikes on the Gaza Strip

Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip have killed two Palestinians just days after a ceasefire was brokered.

At least 21 others have been injured, including 17 early on Saturday morning. The wounded included two women and four children, hospital officials said.

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) said the air strikes have been targeted at people preparing or firing rockets.

The Gaza border with Israel has seen some of the worst violence in recent months over the last week.

Since Monday, Israeli air strikes have killed at least 10 Palestinians while militants have fired over 130 rockets.

Earlier on Friday, Palestinian militants launched two rockets into Israel which did not cause any damage.

Friday's attacks were the first instances of violence since an Egypt-brokered ceasefire was put in place on Wednesday.

Hamas involvement

In a statement, the Israeli Defence Force said it had "targeted a terrorist squad during preparations to fire a rocket at Israel from the central Gaza Strip" in its first airstrike on Friday.

That attack killed a man called Basel Ahmed, who was buried later on Friday. A second air strike on Friday killed an unnamed 18 year-old, who the IDF said had been part of a group firing rockets into Israel.

Initial reports suggested both men may have been from an Islamist Salafi militant group, but this has not been confirmed.

Further strikes early on Saturday morning hit sites including a security compound belonging to the Hamas administration in the centre of Gaza city.

Houses near the compound were also reportedly damaged.

The latest series of clashes started with air strikes on Monday morning, just hours after gunmen from Sinai carried out an ambush along Israel's southern border with Egypt, killing an Israeli-Arab construction worker.

Escalations of violence like this happen every few months, but on this occasion the ruling Islamist group Hamas has admitted to carrying out some of the rocket attacks itself for the first time in a year.

It has largely held back from carrying out itself since Israel's three-week offensive in Gaza in 2008-2009, Operation Cast Lead.