Three Palestinians belonging to the Hamas military wing were killed while another Palestinian was critically wounded in a retaliatory IDF attack along the border after a terrorist sniper opened fire on Israeli soldiers in a latest round of violence that has gripped the region in recent months.
The incident took place in the Kissufim area, just 400 meters away from where IDF soldier Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi was killed by a Hamas sniper on Friday afternoon on the Gaza border.
The IDF responded to what it has described on Wednesday evening as a “trap terror attack” by using children to lure soldier within the sniper’s range, by attacking seven Hamas outposts.
An hour after the incident, a Code Red alert was sounded in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, but the IDF later confirmed that it was a false alarm.
The IDF said that the sniper attack was staged by a group of terror organizations in the Gaza Strip defined as rogue groups.
The attack is the most serious to have been carried out since a ceasefire was struck between Israel and Gaza on Saturday.
“The scope of the Israeli escalation in the Gaza Strip and its deliberate attacks on fighters of the resistance reflects Israel’s intention to kill,” a Hamas statement read. “These steps clearly demonstrate that Israel’s leadership is criminal. We cannot remain silent in the face of its crimes. We will not forgo our obligation to defend the Palestinian people and to respond.”
"The blood of the dead was not spilled in vain, Israel will pay a steep price," the terror group added.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group also responded to the incident. “The Israeli crime will not go unpunished. We are weighing all options for a response. We are still sticking to the equation of bombing will be met with bombing,” it said.
In May, Hamas and Islamic Jihad published a joint statement saying: “We warn Israel against continuing to attack our people. All options are open to the resistance—bombings will be met with bombings and blood with blood. We will adhere to this equation—no matter the cost."