IDF forces killed three Palestinian gunmen in the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning. Two of them, members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, were killed in the Beit Lahiya region in northern Gaza.
An initial IDF probe into the incident concluded that IDF spotters identified two gunmen approaching the border fence opposite an Israeli town with the apparent intent of planting an explosive device on the fence.
Infantry troops who crossed the border to scan the area were able to locate one of the gunmen, who was killed a short time later by a tank shell. The troops continued searching the region and spotted the second gunman, charged towards him and killed him with small arms fire.
IDF officials said that through no large-scale operation has been launched; the army continues its counterterrorism efforts as usual.
Since the early morning hours gunmen have been exchanging fire with Israeli forces in the Beit Lahiya region in the northern part of the Strip.
Four Palestinians were killed on Wednesday by IDF troops, two of them identified as Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives and two were reported as being civilians.
Senior Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad is headed for Cairo later in the day in the hopes of advancing the efforts to secure a ceasefire with Hamas and the other armed groups in Gaza through Egyptian mediation.
Gilad, who has been coordinating the negotiations with Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman for some times now, will brief the latter on Israel's current stance.
He is expected to stress before Suleiman that Israel will not compromise on its demands to release kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit in the final stage of the agreement. Likewise, Gilad will make clear that in addition to a comprehensive ceasefire in Gaza, Israel also expects arms smuggling to Gaza from Egypt to be stopped.
Ali Waked contributed to this report