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Gaza on alert after explosions kill police officers

GAZA (Palestine): The Gaza Strip was put on high alert on Wednesday after explosions killed two policemen in the Palestinian enclave.

The officers died in two separate ¬†explosions targeting police checkpoints” late on Tuesday night, the interior ministry in the Hamas-controlled coastal territory said in a statement.

The Israeli military denied carrying out an air strike, and Palestinian witnesses at the scene told AFP they had seen no aircraft overhead.

The Gaza Strip, home to two million Palestinians, was in a “state of alert,” the ministry said and AFP journalists reported an increased Hamas presence on the main roads of the enclave.

The authorities in Gaza did not specify the nature of the explosions.

The Israeli military earlier on Tuesday bombed a Hamas military post after armed fighters in the Strip fired a mortar round across the border but said it had not carried out any air raids at night.

Tuesday’s events were the latest in a string of cross-border incidents that have raised concerns of further escalation before Israel’s September 17 elections.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for re-election, with political opponents calling for tougher action against Hamas.

On Monday, Israeli warplanes hit what the military said were “terror targets in a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza Strip, including the office of a Hamas battalion commander.”