The Israeli military said it downed a drone launched by Gaza militants on Monday, the first time it encountered an unmanned aircraft since the start of its offensive last week, as new Israeli airstrikes pushed the death toll from Israeli airstrikes to at least 175.
JERUSALEM — The Israeli military said it downed a drone launched by Gaza militants on Monday, the first time it encountered an unmanned aircraft since the start of its offensive last week, as new Israeli airstrikes pushed the death toll from Israeli airstrikes to at least 175.
Israel began its campaign against militants in the Hamas-controlled Gaza last Tuesday, saying it was responding to heavy rocket fire from the densely populated territory. The military says it has launched more than 1,300 airstrikes since then, while Palestinian militants have launched nearly 1,000 rockets at Israel.
The outbreak of violence followed the kidnappings and killings of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last month, as well as the subsequent kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager in an apparent revenge attack, along with Israeli raids against Hamas militants and infrastructure in the West Bank.
Israel's Shin Bet security service on Monday released the findings of its investigation into the killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, whose death set off days of violent protests in Arab areas of Jerusalem and northern Israel. The detention of the three main suspects in the case, a 29-year-old man and a pair of 17-year-olds, was extended until Friday as they appeared before a court, officials said.
Shin Bet said the suspects, whose names were not released, were motivated by revenge following the killing of the Israeli teenagers. During the investigation, the three admitted to abducting Abu Khdeir and setting him on fire, according to the security agency and police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld. They also re-enacted the murder. Four others were being investigated and remained under house arrest for their involvement in the killing.
Abu Khdeir was taken on July 2 near his home in east Jerusalem and his charred body was later found in a forest. An autopsy found that he was burned to death.
Israeli leaders widely condemned the killing and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed those responsible would be brought to justice.
Israel has yet to capture the killers of the three Israel teenagers. It accuses Hamas and cracked down on the Islamic militants in the West Bank after the teens' abduction, contributing to an increase in rocket fire from Gaza that ultimately led to the current round of fighting.
Fighting continued Monday as two Israeli airstrikes struck the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, killing four Palestinians, according to officials from the city's European Hospital.
The officials said Saddam Moamar, his wife Hanadai, and his father Mousa were killed by an airstrike that hit their house. Their neighbor, Maher Abu Mor, was killed in another airstrike while standing on the rooftop of his home, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.
It was not immediately clear why their homes were targeted.
In all, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has said that at least 175 people have been killed in Israeli air attacks, including dozens of civilians.