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Four Israeli Soldiers Wounded in Gaza Border Explosion

Israeli soldiers stand near a military jeep next to the border fence with the southern Gaza Strip near Kibbutz Nirim, Israel, Feb. 17, 2018.

Four Israeli soldiers were wounded, two of them seriously, when an improvised explosive device blew up near the Israeli-Gaza border fence Saturday.

Israel responded with airstrikes. The military said it hit 18 targets in the Gaza Strip later in the day and overnight, including what the military said were a weapons manufacturing site and an underground tunnel being built in the direction of Israel.

There were no reports of casualties in Gaza from the attacks. And there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion on Israel’s southern frontier with the territory controlled by the Islamist group Hamas.

Also Sunday, the Palestinian health ministry said it recovered the bodies of two 17-year-olds who were shot dead near the border area in the southern Gaza Strip. The Israeli military said it has shot toward two people who had tried to cross the border fence from Gaza. The shooting happened Saturday.
The blast occurred in early afternoon local time, east of the town of Khan Younis.

Addressing the blast, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Today’s incident on the Gaza Strip border is severe. We will respond appropriately.”

Israeli media described the explosion as the worst single incident on the border since the 2014 Gaza war.