Israel begins building marine barrier on Gaza strip

Two Palestinians killed by Israeli tank fire in Gaza

Israeli tank shelling killed three members of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, medical officials said, after weeks of border protests that have drawn lethal army fire. Avigdor Liberman said in a statement that the barrier aimed to prevent any attempts by Palestinians in Gaza to enter Israeli territory through the sea, Efe news reported.

The deceased were identified as 25-year-old Hussein al-Amour and 28-year-old Abdul Haleem al-Naqa, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Israel Defence Minister on Sunday announced that construction had begun on a marine barrier with the Gaza Strip extending into the Mediterranean Sea. The incident happened east of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, a ministry spokesman said.

"We will not give up our duty to the blood of the martyrs shed by the occupation, and we know how to respond to this unsafe escalation", Islamic Jihad said in a statement.

Israel's military confirmed the strike, saying the tank fire came after its troops detonated an explosive device that had been placed near the border fence.

A day earlier, Israeli aircraft attacked two targets belonging to the Hamas movement, although no casualties were reported. Amnesty International has called the situation in Gaza "another horrific example of the Israeli military using excessive force and live ammunition in a totally deplorable way".

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Israel already maintains a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Around 5,000 Palestinians had turned out for protests against Israeli forces on Friday, the smallest number since the six-week-long "Great March of Return" protests kicked off on March 30 demanding the right to return to ancestral homelands in what is now Israel.

He also appealed to the global community to pressure Israel to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip and on worldwide NGOs to provide protection to anti-siege ships.

The Israeli military aggression killed almost 2,200 Palestinians and injured over 11,100 others.

Israel claims Hamas constructs these tunnels to attack Israeli civilians.

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