IDF tank near Gaza
Photo: Reuters
Qassam rocket (archives)
Photo: AP
IDF thwarts attack near Kissufim
Soldiers spot Palestinians attempting to plant explosive device near border fence, while assault helicopter opens fire at suspicious vehicle approaching fence. Shortly afterwards, Qassam rocket hits open area near Sderot

IDF says thwarted attack against its forces on Gaza Strip border: An Israel Air Force assault helicopter on Monday morning fired at a suspicious vehicle near the Kissufim crossing, on the Gaza Strip border.


At the same time, a Golani force entered the Strip and exchanged fire with Palestinian gunmen attempting to plant explosive devices along the border. The ground force directed the chopper to the suspicious vehicle.


Shortly afterwards, at around 10:10 am, a Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open area near the southern town of Sderot. There were no reports of injuries or damage.


Palestinian sources reported that the gunmen opened fire at an Israel Defense Forces patrol near the border fence, and that the soldiers fired back. There were no reports of injuries in the strike, which took place east of the al-Maazi refugee camp.


The same area has seen several clashes with gunmen planting explosive devices recently.

IDF tank in Kissufim area, Sunday (Photo: Reuters)


The Southern Command has been working on various channels in recent weeks in order to thwart attacks initiated by Hamas and other Palestinian organizations, including attempts to kidnap soldiers.


Last Friday, an attack was thwarted in the same area as a cell of gunmen fired some 10 mortar shells at an IDF force patrolling the area. Military sources estimated Military sources estimated that the mortar fire was part of a botched attempt by Palestinians to carry out a majot attack against the IDF.


Palestinian gunmen have continued firing rockets from Gaza even after the three-week Israeli offensive in the Strip, despite the talks for a renewed truce between Israel and Hamas.


On Sunday morning, a Qassam rocket exploded in an open area near the border fence in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. On Saturday night, a rocket hit southern Ashkelon at around 10:20 pm after an air raid siren sounded in the city's southern industrial zone. There were no reports of injuries or damage in all incidents.


On Thursday, Air Force jets attacked targets in the Rafah area in the southern Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources in Gaza reported that the attack focused on the Philadelphi Route.


Early Thursday, IDF soldiers shot a Palestinian who arrived at the border area near the Kerem Shalom crossing in a bid to plant an explosive device. He was lightly injured and evacuated to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba for medical treatment. Palestinian sources also reported of exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the northeaster part of the Strip.


Hanan Greenberg, Shmulik Hadad and Ilana Curiel contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 02.23.09, 09:32
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