Three Gazans were killed by an Israeli airstrike near Khan Yunis after they attempted to bomb the border fence on Sunday.
According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, the three were 14-year-old Khalid Abu Said, 13-year-old Abdelhamid Abu Dhaher and 13-year-old Muhammed al-Satari. The Israeli military has launched an investigation into the incident.
The deaths followed a weekend of heightened violence on the border and a heavy missile attack. On Friday 16,000 demonstrators gathered on the Gaza border. They threw Molotov cocktails, hand grenades and stones at Israeli army positions. Four Palestinians were killed and 170 were reportedly injured.
On Friday night and Saturday morning 39 missiles were fired from Gaza into southern Israel. The Iron Dome anti-missile defence system intercepted ten missiles and the others landed in open areas. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), one of the armed groups that operates in Gaza, claimed responsibility for the attack as a response to Friday’s killings on the border. The Israeli Air Force attacked 95 targets in Gaza belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
On Saturday PIJ announced that it had agreed an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire to end the exchange of fire with Israel. PIJ spokesman Daoud Shehab said: “After contacts between the Islamic Jihad leadership and the brothers in Egypt it was agreed that a comprehensive cease-fire will begin immediately.”
Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, has asked Egypt to convince Israel to hand over $15m in Qatari funds to pay for salaries. Sinwar said that if the funds are not handed over by Thursday, Hamas would intensify the violence on the border. At yesterday’s weekly Cabinet meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “After a weekend of air strikes in Gaza. Yesterday we heard about an ‘ultimatum’ from Hamas to Israel. At no stage will Israel accept any ultimatum from Hamas. Israel will continue to act in accordance with Israeli interests and for Israel’s security alone.”
Channel 2 News reported last night that the Security Cabinet will give the Egyptian mediation efforts one more try.