Five dead in Gaza in Israeli mortar attack 22Mar11 March 23, 2011

Aljazeera -  22 March 2011

At least five Palestinians, including children according to witnesses, have been killed in an Israeli mortar attack which struck a house in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israel said on Tuesday it was responding to rocket attacks from Gaza. Another 10 people were wounded in the attack.

“At least five people died when Israel opened fire on young people who were playing football in Shejaiya”, Adham Abu Selmiya, an emergency services spokesman, told AFP news agency.

The army confirmed it had fired mortar rounds towards the eastern outskirts of Gaza City on Tuesday, shortly after four rockets hit Israel, and expressed  “regret” over reports that civilians had been hurt.

It was the third time Shejaiya had been targeted on Tuesday, following an earlier one which wounded one fighter and a burst of tank fire, which left two civilians wounded shortly after dawn.

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Gaza, said that more tit-for-tat attacks may be expected.

“Tensions look to be rising here, and violence could increase,” he said.

The latest incident also comes after at least 19 people were wounded in a series of raids on Monday, in the northern town of Beit Lahiya and Gaza City.

Witnesses said a security compound for Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, a training camp north of the city and a brickworks and metal foundry in northern Gaza were among the targets.

Rising cross-border violence has occurred, also increasing tensions between Israel and Hamas and once again raising fears of another large-scale Israeli invasion.

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