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Two Palestinian teens killed by Israeli fire; Hamas fires at regime jets

A wounded Palestinian man arrives at the Rafah hospital in the southern Gaza Strip, on February 17, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Two Palestinian teenage boys have been found dead following Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Health Ministry in Gaza identified the victims as Salam Sabah and Abdullah Abu Sheikha, both 17.

Palestinian eye witnesses said the two were killed east of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza on Saturday after Israel launched a series of airstrikes and mortar attacks on alleged targets belonging to the Hamas.

The assaults came after an explosive device wounded four Israeli soldiers on patrol near the border between the occupied territories and the Palestinian coastal enclave.

The Israeli army also claimed that a rocket fired from Gaza had hit the roof of a house in an Israeli town. 

Hamas said it "holds Israel responsible for any escalation in the Gaza Strip."

Meanwhile, the Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, said in a statement that its anti-aircraft defenses had been used against Israeli strikes.

The Brigades also affirmed its right to respond to Israel’s ongoing aggression against the Palestinian citizens in Gaza.

Additionally, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad resistance movement said, "The land of Gaza will not serve as a picnic for the forces of the enemy. The sons of Gaza will respond with rage to the Israeli aggression and the continuation of the siege."

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.

Tel Aviv has waged three wars on the coastal enclave since 2008, including the 2014 offensive, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.

Israel claims Hamas uses Gaza underground tunnels to stockpile weapons and infiltrate into the occupied lands.

The resistance group, however, says the tunnels are needed to defend Gaza against Israeli attacks and transfer essential supplies, including food and fuel, into the blockaded Palestinian territory.

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