GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike Friday after gunshots from the Gaza Strip wounded two Israeli soldiers, officials said.
The flare-up shattered a month-long easing of hostilities that was mediated by Egypt in exchange for Israel's scaling back restrictions on the territory. However, Gaza's Hamas rulers accused Israel of not honoring the deal.
Leaders from the Islamic militant group were in Egypt on Friday for further talks. Cairo has hoped negotiations could lead to a long-term cease-fire.
The Israeli army said the soldiers who were shot were moderately and lightly wounded, respectively. Israeli aircraft hit a Hamas militant site in response. In addition to the two killed, two other Palestinians were wounded in the airstrike, Gaza's health ministry said.
The escalation in violence came as thousands of Palestinians demonstrated along Gaza's perimeter fence with Israel on Friday.
The health ministry said 50 Palestinians suffered various injuries during the protests at several sections of the frontier. There was no breakdown of what caused their wounds.
Hamas has hoped that Egyptian mediators could alleviate the blockade that Israel and Egypt imposed when it seized full control of Gaza in a 2007 coup against the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.
More than 200 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier have been killed in the border protests that Hamas has led since March last year.
Last month, Israel allowed Gaza fishermen to sail up to 15 nautical miles off the enclave's coast, but retracted the decision this week, scaling it down to the longtime previous limit of nine miles after rockets were fired from Gaza.
Hamas also says Israel delayed the transfer of Qatari money for cash-strapped public institutions in the territory of 2 million people and did not take more measures to ease the grinding power shortage in Gaza.
© Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.