Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling in northern Gaza

Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling in northern Gaza

Israeli tank fire killed two Hamas gunmen in Gaza Tuesday in a strike the Israeli military described as return fire for a shooting attack against its forces.

The Hebrew newspaper "Haaretz" quoted an unnamed Israeli political official as saying that a comprehensive settlement in the Gaza Strip would not take place without the return of Israeli soldiers and the bodies of their soldiers detained by Hamas in Gaza.

The statement added that an Israeli army-affiliated tank then "targeted the post from which the shots were fired".

Palestinian security sources said that the Israeli attack was in the north of the strip.

The deaths of two of its fighters could trigger an escalation between Hamas and Israel.

The Israeli navy intercepted a Swedish-flagged activist boat bent on breaching its more than decade-long blockade of Gaza, the second in less than a week, the military said on Saturday.

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There have been reports about talks between Palestinian factions, Egypt, the United Nations and Israel to reach a long-term truce in the besieged enclave.

The cross-border incident came after a delegation of senior Hamas officials visited Gaza to discuss a ceasefire agreement with Israel proposed by the United Nations and Egypt.

Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas have fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

Tensions have soared since Hamas launched mass protests along the border in March.

"The IDF is prepared to target any aggression against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for everything happening in and from the Gaza Strip", the spokesperson said.

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