Three Hamas terrorists were killed Saturday in an IDF air strike on a vehicle near the town of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Another Palestinian was wounded in the attack and was said to be in moderate to serious condition.
The IDF said that a joint operation involving the army and Shin Bet security service targeted a Hamas terror cell planning to abduct Israelis in the Sinai Peninsula and in Israel ahead of the upcoming Passover holiday.
Later Saturday, Hamas’ military wing, Izz al-Din al-Qassam, confirmed that three of its members were killed in the strike. The group did not publish the identities of those killed.
In its statement, Izz al-Din al-Qassam said that the strike marks a “significant escalation” and that Israel will bear the results of its actions.
Palestinian eyewitnesses said a missile fired by an IDF aircraft hit the vehicle as it was traveling on the road connecting Khan Younis and Dir al-Balah. The car targeted in the strike caught fire and was burned to the ground.
Following the strike, numerous IDF aircraft were reportedly hovering in the area.
On Wednesday, an IDF air strike on southern Gaza killed an Islamic Jihad man and wounded another. However, the past few days saw a return to relative calm after a spate of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel and IDF counterstrikes on Gaza.
Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has been a favorite target for Gaza and Global Jihad terror groups aiming to abduct Israelis or infiltrate the Jewish state via the Egyptian border. Late last year, the Counter-Terrorism Bureau urged Israelis to leave Sinai at once following a concrete warning about an abduction plot. That same week, Egypt’s security forces detained 25 radical Islam activists in al-Arish and in Rafah.
AFP contributed to the story
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