Israel strikes Gaza after bomb wounds soldiers, two Palestinian dead

Israel bombed 18 targets in Gaza overnight, killing two Palestinian teens, after an explosion wounded four of its soldiers on the border with the Palestinian enclave.
The flare-up started with a bomb blast near the security fence on the southern Israel-Gaza border that wounded four Israeli troops at around (9 a.m. ET). Israel responded with air strikes and tank fire against 18 targets belonging to Hamas — a militant group sworn to its destruction — including what the military described as a terror tunnel, military compounds and two observation posts.
Gaza militant groups usually evacuate potential targets in anticipation of retaliation for attacks against Israelis, according to Reuters.
Medical officials in Gaza said Sunday that they had retrieved the bodies of two 17-year-old Palestinians killed by Israeli fire. Gaza's Health Ministry named the two as Salem Mohammed Sabah and Abdullah Ayman Abu-Shikha.
No one claimed responsibility for the initial blast, but Israel Defense Forces (IDF) blamed Hamas, a militant group that has governed Gaza since 2007. It is longstanding Israel policy to hold Hamas responsible for violence that emanates from the tiny strip of blockaded land sandwiched between Israel and Egypt.
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the smaller armed groups in Gaza, had detonated the bomb that wounded the soldiers.
"We will hunt down those responsible for yesterday's incident," Lieberman told Israel Radio on Sunday.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum blamed the violence on Israel.
"Hamas holds the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the consequences of its continued escalation against our people," he said in a written statement.


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