Source AP ©

Israeli troops brutally kill teenager in Gaza

Israeli troops operating against rocket squads in Gaza on Thursday killed a teenager who was hit by shrapnel from a tank shell, then run over by an army bulldozer.

Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of the Health Ministry in Gaza identified the youth as 17-year-old Mahmoud Kassassi. It was not immediately clear if he was armed.

The Israeli army said it was looking into the reports on the incident, which took place during an Israeli incursion into central Gaza. Hamas security forces said dozens of jeeps, tanks and bulldozers moved about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) into the strip.

Earlier Thursday, two Hamas fighters were seriously injured in clashes with Israeli troops in the same area, Hamas said. The army said troops had been exchanging fire with militants, hitting one.

The army added that it faced an anti-tank missile with no injuries.

The Israeli military regularly conducts incursions into Gaza to fight Palestinian militants who fire almost daily rocket barrages at Israeli towns.

On Wednesday, the Israeli government designated Gaza a "hostile territory," threatening to cut back vital supplies of fuel and electricity if the rocket attacks continue. The decision drew condemnation from Palestinians who said it would deepen the hardship of Gaza's already impoverished residents.