Palestinians shot three mortar shells Thursday morning on an area where an IDF
force was engaging in routine activity on the Israeli
side of the security barrier in the southern Gaza Strip. There were no casualties and no damage was caused.
Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip reported that the IDF attacked the two-man cell responsible for the mortar fire, causing both moderate injuries.
Israeli Air Force aircraft also attacked a Palestinian
cell in the Gaza Strip in the final stages of launching rockets toward Israel. There are casualties.
The tensions on the southern Gaza border have been rising since December 21, when the Palestinians reported that a man in his twenties was killed by IDF fire after approaching the northern side of the border fence. Three other Palestinians were injured by IDF fire and were evacuated to a local hospital after approaching the border fence.
IDF Merkava tank near Gaza Strip (Archive photo: EPA) Israeli tank overlooking southern Gaza (Archive photo: AFP)
The fatality was added to two other Palestinians that were shot by IDF that same week in an army operation seeking to detain wanted men in Jenin.
On December 24, Salah Abu Latif, an Israeli Defense Ministry worker, was killed by Palestinian sniper fire. The rapid escalation to shooting attacks at the border led to a fierce response by the IDF, which included striking six Gaza targets
Sources within the Gaza Strip claimed that in the IAF
strikes, a 3-year-old girl was killed and several of her family members were injured.
Later that week, several rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory. One rocket landed between two communities in Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council; there were no injuries in the event. A week earlier a rocket was fired towards Hof Ashkleon Regional Council. Another launching attempt ended with no injuries on the Israeli side.
IAF aircrafts struck in three targets in Gaza following the fire on Israel. Army sources said that three launching pads were destroyed, as well as an observation post. The strikes were carried out as response to the Palestinian fire towards Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
both pledged to response to any leakage of fire towards southern Israel. "Israel holds Hamas
responsible. We will strike those who fire, and strike those who sponsor them. No one will be immune," Netanyahu said at an IAF ceremony.
Elior Levy contributed to this report