The Islamic militant group Hamas says it will avenge the deaths of seven militants who reportedly were killed as a result of Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip. Israel says the strikes were retaliation for a burst of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel.
From Jerusalem, Daniel Estrin reports:
“A Hamas spokesman said six Hamas militants were killed in the collapse of a tunnel following Israeli airstrikes, and an additional militant died from his wounds in an earlier attack. Two other militants unaffiliated with Hamas were also reported killed. Israel said it carried out airstrikes on at least 14 sites in Gaza to retaliate for the increased rocket fire at Israel.
“About a dozen rockets were fired at Israel overnight, and one Israeli soldier was injured, the army said. Tensions have been high since the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israel blamed Hamas and has arrested hundreds of Hamas activists in the West Bank.”
The exchange of rocket and air attacks follow the slaying of a Palestinian teen last week, which set off rioting in several Israeli cities.
As we reported Sunday, police have arrested six Israeli suspects in connection with the teen’s death. News also emerged that an American cousin of the Palestinian teen was allegedly beaten by Israeli police.
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the family of the slain Palestinian teen to offer his condolences and to express his outrage over his reprehensible murder.
Three of the suspects have confessed, NPR’s Linda Gradstein reports.
“Israeli police say the three suspects re-enacted the crime in the forest outside Jerusalem where Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s body was found,” she says. “The autopsy report said he was burned to death. Several of the Jewish extremists who have been arrested are minors.”
Linda adds, “Abu Khdeir’s family has accused the Israeli government of not doing enough to stop extremist Jewish attacks on Arabs.”