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Troops at the scene of the attack
Photo: Reuters
IDF: Hamas didn't carry out attack – but is responsible
Ambush on IDF patrol near Kissufim crossing executed by pro-Iranian militant group whose extremism outstrips even Hamas. Army stresses that even if Hamas didn't carry out the attack, it authorized it

The attack on an IDF force patrolling the Gaza border earlier on Tuesday was carried out by a cell belonging to the Worldwide Jihad. An IDF tracker serving with the Gaza Division's southern brigade was killed and three additional soldiers were seriously wounded. The name of the tracker, a Bedouin from Rahat, is being withheld at the request of his family.

 

An Islamist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda calling itself the 'Jihad and Tawhid Brigades' claimed responsibility for the attack. The group delivered the announcement to the Ramattan news agency, which distributed the footage.  

 

The IDF believes that the cell behind the attack is an extremist pro-Iranian group, which espouses a militant ideology that surpasses even Hamas' positions in its opposition to Israel. The group receives direct support from Tehran, but is connected in various ways to Hamas as well.

 

The army says that even though the attack was executed by this group, Hamas was involved and at the very least gave its consent to the plot.

 

Later in the afternoon the IAF targeted one of the perpetrators of the attack in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis. Hussain Abu Shamia, a prominent operative belonging to the Worldwide Jihad, was confirmed injured in the strike. However military officials believe that Israel must broaden its response to the attack in order to deliver a stronger message to Hamas that Israel will not tolerate such violations of

the ceasefire.

 

The army has prepared a number of options for retaliatory action and is now waiting for a green light from the political echelon.

 

Military sources estimates that Hamas will continue using other organization to operate through in an effort to minimize Israel's response against its ranks and infrastructure but rather only against the smaller armed groups in Gaza. Senior officials said on Tuesday evening that they see Hamas as solely responsible for the attack, and have no intention of playing along with its scheme to evade responsibility.

 

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