An Israeli air-strike has killed a member of the Hamas police force and a Palestinian civilian in southern Gaza, shortly after Palestinian militants used car-bombs to attack a border-crossing between the strip and Israel. Four other people were injured in the air raid, which Israeli authorities say targetted a suspicious vehicle. Witnesses say the target was a four-by-four which was parked near the Rafah border crossing with Israel.
Earlier, militants from the so-called Qassam Brigades attacked the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip. At least three of the attackers died, and 13 Israeli soldiers were injured when two booby-trapped cars laden with explosives drove into the checkpoint. One of the vehicles exploded. The Israeli army said the other did not detonate.
A spokesman for the Qassam Brigades said the attack marked the start of a campaign to break what he called the siege of Gaza, and he warned Israel to be ready for more. Israel has tightened its military and economic blockade of the Gaza Strip since Hamas wrenched control from the secular Fatah faction of President Mahmoud Abbas last June.
As the wounded Israeli soldiers were taken to hospital, Hamas officials were engaged in an internal debate over proposals for a ceasefire with Israel, put forward by the former US President Jimmy Carter at talks in Damascus.