Three Islamic Jihad operatives were killed in an IAF airstrike in the Gaza Strip Friday. Palestinians reported that al-Quds Brigades gunmen in the Tuffah neighborhood in east Gaza City were hit by a missile fired by the IDF.
This is the first such strike since the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead in January.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit confirmed that the military and the Shin Bet were operating in the area, and that during their activity an Israeli jet struck the vehicle in which the three were riding.
The IDF reported that the operatives were on their way to launch rockets at Israel, and that the strike came moments before the rockets were to be launched. According to the military, the three were riding in the vehicle, got out of it, and began to unload rocket launching equipment.
According to the Palestinians, six people were in the vehicle. In addition to the three killed, Gaza sources say three others were seriously injured.
Military sources said the cell struck was part of the infrastructure that has been carrying out recent rocket attacks against Israel, including the two rockets fired at Sderot on Rosh Hashana.
This is the first strike of its kind since the Israeli offensive in the Strip came to its end. In recent months the IDF has been responding to Qassam and mortar attacks on Israel by striking illegal smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip.
Week of clashesThursday morning a Qassam rocket was fired from the northern Gaza Strip and landed in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. No damage or injures were caused.
Earlier in the week Palestinians opened fire with small arms at Defense Ministry laborers engaged in infrastructure work near the border fence in the Kibbutz Nahal Oz area. The IDF responded with tank fire.
At around midnight Sunday, Israel Air Force planes attacked three weapon smuggling tunnels in southern Gaza. The IDF said the strike was carried out in response to the firing of Qassam rockets at Israel on Saturday night.
Two Palestinians were killed Sunday afternoon and four others were injured by IDF fire north of the town of Beit Lahiya. The army reported that several people were spotted approaching the fence near Kibbutz Kfar Aza in order to plant an explosive device, and that mortars were fired at them after they had failed to obey warning shots.
Ali Waked contributed to this report