WORLD> Middle East
Israeli shelling kills 2 Hamas gunmen in Gaza-medics
Updated: 2009-09-02 02:18

GAZA:Israeli army tank fire killed two Hamas gunmen standing guard on the Gaza Strip's northern frontier on Tuesday, the Palestinian Islamist group and medical officials said.

Israel had no immediate comment on the incident, which could constitute a breach of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that ended its December-January war in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

There have been sporadic Palestinian short-range rocket attacks on the Jewish state since, often carried out by non-Hamas factions. Israel has generally responded with air strikes against infrastructure, causing few casualties.

Hamas shuns Israel but has signalled interest in a long-term truce. Egypt and Germany are trying to broker Hamas's release of an Israeli soldier seized in a 2006 border raid, in exchange for hundreds of Palestinians held in Israel's jails.

Hamas at first said the two gunmen, who had been deployed in night-lookout positions east of the town of Jabalya, close to the Israeli border, had died in an air strike. Hamas's armed wing then said the shell came from a tank over the border.