(Reuters) – Israeli tank fire wounded four members of a Gaza family on Thursday, medics said, in an incident that ruptured the calm of a shaky truce achieved after a spasm of cross-border violence earlier this month.
Officials in the Hamas Islamist ruled coastal territory said Israeli forces had fired in the direction of a home in central Gaza after darkness fell.
Medics and witnesses said those wounded were a man and a woman and two children aged five and 10 from the same family, who were on the second floor of a building about 200 meters from a border zone with Israel.
All were treated in hospital for slight injuries, medics said.
The Israeli military said its troops had fired from a tank at a squad of militants “identified as planting an explosive near a border security fence” and that “uninvolved civilians were apparently injured in this incident.”
The statement went on to say that the military “regrets that terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip choose to operate from within the civilian population.”
The incident followed a surprise unity deal achieved this week between Hamas and the Fatah movement that dominates in the occupied West Bank, an accord denounced by Israel which shuns Hamas, a group that refuses to recognize the Jewish state.
Nineteen Palestinians in Gaza were killed this month in retaliatory Israeli strikes launched after Hamas claimed responsibility for shooting at an Israeli school bus, critically wounding an Israeli teenager who later died of his injuries.
The fighting died down after United Nations and other officials achieved an unofficial truce about two weeks ago.
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