After six Hamas
operatives were killed in an IDF airstrike Monday afternoon, the organization identified them as members of its military wing and implied that they would seek revenge. A spokesman for the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades described Israel's
action as an "ugly Zionist massacre" and said "all options were open" for a response.
"The Zionist enemy (Israel) is playing with fire and they will have to shoulder the responsibility for the consequences of this crime," Izz al-Din al-Qassam spokesman Abu Ubaida said.
The vehicle, which Hamas said was hit as it arrived at a Hamas security post near the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, contained local Hamas commander Mohammed abu Arab.
According to an IDF spokeswoman, the operatives were members of a cell that had launched an attack towards Gaza vicinity communities earlier Monday. "There was a strike on a car carrying militants who today fired rockets into Israel and we identified hitting it," she said.
As such, the airstrike was part of continuing operations by the IDF's Gaza Division to combat rocket launchings from the Strip. An Israeli army spokesman said over 40 makeshift rockets had been fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip since Friday.
Hamas, meanwhile, denied the dead gunmen had fired rockets. It has not claimed any rocket attacks on Israel since its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in June, although it has fired mortar shells.
Asked whether Hamas would resume firing rockets into Israel in response to the incident, Abu Ubaida added: "If the Zionist enemy fears the possibility of a response with rockets then they should know that we have even more dangerous weapons." He did not elaborate.
Other militant groups have continued to launch many rockets across the border into nearby Israeli towns and agricultural communities. In a second strike on Monday, a militant from the Islamic Jihad group was wounded by an Israeli missile after a launching crew fired a rocket at Israel, militants and Palestinian medical workers said.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report