Two Palestinians were killed early Thursday after an IDF force spotted several gunmen near the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The gunmen were shot from an Air Force aircraft, in addition to tank shells fired at them.
There were no injuries among the soldiers. The IDF Spokesperson's Office issued a statement saying a terror attack had been thwarted.
The gunmen were spotted approaching the border fence near Kibbutz Kfar Aza at around 5 am. The attempted attack was thwarted in a joint operation of the Paratroopers Brigade, the Armored Corps, the Engineering Corps and the Air Force. The gunmen were shot before opening fire some hundreds of meters from the fence.
Army officials estimate the two were planning to take advantage of the morning twilight in order to infiltrate Israel and carry out an attack. Weapons found on the gunmen's bodies were being examined by the IDF. The two men have yet to be identified.
The latest escalation in the area took place about two weeks ago, when the Israel Defense Forces bombed targets in the Strip after seven mortar shells were fired at Israel,
four of them containing phosphorus.
A Grad rocket
hit an open area near the southern town of Ofakim, for the first time since the end of Operation Cast Lead.
The army said Thursday that it viewed "the Hamas
terrorist organization as solely responsible for the situation in the Gaza Strip and for maintaining calm."
Ali Waked contributed to this report