Israeli Airstrikes Killed Two Palestinians on Egypt-Gaza Borders

Two Palestinians were killed and five were injured during a reported Israeli airstrike on a smuggling tunnel between Egypt and Gaza on Wednesday night, official Palestinian sources said.

Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said that Hussam Hamid al-Sufi, 24, from the town of Rafah, and Muhammad Anwar al-Aqraa, a 38-year-old resident of Gaza City, were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, while five other Palestinians were injured.
However, an Israeli army spokesperson denied that the army was involved in the reported strike.”
An Israeli military spokeswoman said she had no knowledge of the attack, which happened before dawn,” as reported by Reuters.

However, Israeli media stated that the alleged tunnel attack came in the wake of four rockets being fired from the blockaded Palestinian territory towards the southern Israeli city of Eilat.

No casualties were reported in the incident.

ISIS claimed responsibility for firing several rockets on Eilat from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

In the recent months, Gaza border with Israel has been largely quiet, but on Monday a rocket launched from Gaza drew several Israeli strikes against Hamas targets.

Israeli forces launched various attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip injuring three Palestinians in response to a rocket that landed in an open area in the Ashkelon region of southern Israel on Monday morning.

Accordingly, the Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights expressed concern that Israel could be leading up to a wide-scale military offensive.

The rights group called on the international community to “act promptly against Israel’s military escalation, to fulfill their obligations to protect civilians, and ensure respect for the rules of international law,” stressing that “acting before a full-scale military bombardment is launched is crucial to ensuring the protection of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

In the same context, the Egyptian army claimed on Wednesday to have destroyed six tunnels between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip in the span of two weeks earlier this year.

Tamer al-Rifai, the Egyptian army spokesman,said that six tunnels were uncovered and destroyed at the border between Gaza and the North Sinai between January 17 and February 4.

Moreover, al-Rifai has previously stated this year that the Egyptian forces had destroyed 12 tunnels during an unspecified time period at the end of 2016.

In December 2016, four Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip were left dead when Egyptian authorities deliberately flooded a tunnel with seawater.

In fact, Egypt has destroyed nearly 2,000 smuggling tunnels that provided Gaza’s two million people with goods in the past few years.

2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are sealed under a military blockade imposed by Israel and upheld by Egypt on the southern border.