Four Palestinians were killed and several others were wounded Monday when the Israeli Air Force attacked gunmen in Beit Hanoun in the Karni crossing area.
In Beit Hanoun three teens were killed when an IAF missile struck them on a soccer field. IDF officials claimed that all those killed in the attack stood in close proximity to Qassam rocket launchers. Earlier a Qassam rocket launching was detected in the area.
The Palestinians, however, said that only civilians were killed in the Beit Hanoun attack. The IDF said a Qassam rocket cell was operating nearby when the attack took place; three other Palestinians were wounded in the incident.
'Most of the strikes are accurate.' Scene of IDF attack (Photo: Reuters)
An al-Shifa Hospital spokesman said the wounded are in serious condition.
“The Israelis are using new weapons that do not leave much shrapnel, but cause severe internal injuries,” he said.
On Tuesday morning, the IDF reported that the IAF attacked a gunman in the northern Gaza Strip in a joint operation with the Southern Command. The report did not say whether the gunman was killed in the strike.
Earlier, the Air Force struck a bridge near the northern Strip town of Beit Hanoun. Palestinian security sources also reported that an IDF tank fired a missile at a group of gunmen who were planning to launch a Qassam rocket at the western Negev. The group fled the area.
In the first attack Monday, an aircraft struck a cell of anti-tank missile launchers spotted near the Karni crossing in north Gaza. Shortly thereafter a Qassam rocket cell was identified in the Beit Hanoun area, also in north Gaza. The cell members were spotted as they were attempting to fire a Qassam toward Israel. According to Southern Command sources, the cell members and a number of other Palestinians were struck in the attack.
A senior officer told Ynet that in recent days the IAF has carried out dozens of attacks in Gaza and has hurt dozens of terrorists.
“Most of the strikes are accurate, despite the difficult conditions,” he said. “On Sunday we struck a car carrying hundreds of kilograms of explosives that may have been targeted at Sderot or Ashkelon.”
According to the officer, two civilians were wounded during IAF activity in Gaza on Sunday.
“Unfortunately, civilians were injured in the operation, but we must remember that this is combat. We are making every effort not to harm civilians, but if we don’t act Israeli civilians may be harmed,” he said, adding that the IAF is under the assumption that the terror organizations are in possession of different types of weapons and in large quantities.
“I cannot point out a specific incident in which they tried to target one of our aircraft, but this may happen and we are acting accordingly,” the officer said.
Despite the IDF attacks, Palestinians succeeded in firing two more Qassam rockets at Israel Monday evening. The rockets landed in open fields near Sderot; no injuries were reported.
Earlier a 10-year-old Palestinian girl was seriously injured by a rocket that hit her family home in Beit Lahiya.
Palestinian sources said gunmen aimed the errant rocket towards Israel.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report