Southern escalation: Two soldiers were lightly wounded Tuesday morning after mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip landed at the Eshkol region in the western Negev.
They wounded troops, who were engaged in engineering work at the time of the incident, were taken to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba in an IDF helicopter. Soldiers at the site fired back at the source of the fire.
An IDF source told Ynet that the incident "illustrates terror groups' attempts to carry out attacks, mainly near the border fence, in order to hurt army forces deployed in the area. For the most part, Hamas is not involved in these incidents and is trying to maintain calm in an attempt to grow stronger."
The same source said: "Nevertheless, smaller terrorist groups are aiming to gain achievements. Generally speaking, we are witnessing a drop in the number of events, including the firing of rockets; however, it is clear that terrorist groups are highly motivated to carry out such attacks."
After the incident, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said, "Terror organizations are constantly operating to harm soldiers and citizens of the State of Israel. The IDF holds Hamas solely responsible for what happens in the Strip and for maintaining calm there."
Soldier hurt in same area Monday
The Palestinians directed the mortar fire at the same area where a soldier was lightly wounded on Monday. The incident followed an IDF attack that killed an Islamic Jihad operative terrorist.
An IDF force fired at two suspects on Monday as they were planting an explosive device. While soldiers were scouring the area, an explosion occurred near the security fence. One soldier sustained mild shrapnel injuries in the attack.
The IDF 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.
The sources said the Palestinians belonged to the Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad's military wing..
Ilana Curiel contributed to this report
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