After a month of relative calm along Israel's border with Gaza, IDF soldiers opened fire Monday evening on two Palestinians who planted an explosive device in the area. According to Islamic Jihad, one of its senior operatives was killed in the incident, while another went missing. The group reportedly fears for his life.
While soldiers were combing the area, an explosion occurred near the security fence. One soldier sustained mild shrapnel injuries as a result. It remains unclear who was behind the blast.
The sources said the Palestinians belonged to an Al-Quds Brigades cell. Al-Quds is Islamic Jihad's armed wing.
The IDF's Spokesperson's Unit said one of the Palestinians killed in the incident was identified as Bassem Dragma, a senior Islamic Jihad operative who took part in the border clash that claimed the lives of Maj. Eliraz Peretz and St.-Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky in late March.
About two hours after the border incident, two Qassam rockets fired from northern Gaza landed in an open area in the Negev's Eshkol Regional Council. There were no reports of injury or damage.
The escalation of violence in the south began in early August, when a Palestinian was killed by IDF fire east of Khan Younis in south Gaza. The incident followed an Israel Air Force strike on targets in Gaza, carried out in retaliation for the firing of a Qassam rocket toward the Negev region.
The Air Force targeted a weapons-smuggling tunnel under the Egypt-Gaza border, and another tunnel that ran beneath the Strip's border with Israel, which was meant to be used for carrying out a terror attack in Israeli territory.
Israeli officials estimated that the rocket fire was an attempt by Palestinian militants to "ignite" the area ahead of possible direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Hanan Greenberg, Ilana Curiel and Ali Waked contributed to the report
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook