IDF tank shells Islamic Jihad post in Gaza, group vows revenge for 3 killed
Jack Guez (AFP)
Islamic Jihad vowed revenge on Sunday after Israeli tank fire killed three of is members after an IDF tank fired at the groups observation post in the Gaza Strip, in response to the detonation of an explosive device on the border fence earlier.
"IDF troops detonated an explosive device that was placed adjacent to the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip yesterday, with the intention of harming IDF soldiers who were present in the area," an army statement said.
"The explosive device went off during the clearing procedure. No injuries to the IDF soldiers were reported," the statement added.
Gaza's health ministry identified those killed by tank fire as Hussein al-Amour, 25, and Abdul Haleem al-Naqa, 28. The incident happened east of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, a ministry spokesman said.
The third member succumbed to his wounds and died a few hours after the incident.
“We will not give up our duty to the blood of the martyrs shed by the occupation, and we know how to respond to this dangerous escalation,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement.
Only hours before late Saturday night, Israeli warplanes carried out an air strike in southern Gaza after four Palestinians infiltrated into Israel earlier in the day.
"A short while ago, IAF fighter jets struck military targets in a compound belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the southern Gaza Strip," a military statement said.
No injuries were reported either from local sources or the IDF.
The military also said the air strike was payback for "continued attempts to sabotage security infrastructure, during the riots constantly led by the Hamas terror organization."
Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would not "tolerate attacks against us from the Gaza Strip."
"The IAF attacked terrorist targets deep inside the Gaza Strip last night. And today, after our forces neutralized an explosive charge on the fence, they again acted against Hamas targets on the line of contact," he added
"The IDF and the security forces are working around the clock to defend the State of Israel, to protect the citizens of Israel and to defend the borders of Israel," the prime minister concluded.
Around 5,000 Palestinians had turned out for protests against Israeli forces on Friday, the smallest number since the six-week-long "Great March of Return" protests kicked off on March 30 demanding the right to return to ancestral homelands in what is now Israel.
Over a hundred Palestinians have been killed in the rolling protests and clashes, mostly from Israeli gunfire and thousands more injured.
On May 14 -- the bloodiest day of the conflict coinciding with the US’s highly-contested embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem -- at least 60 Palestinians were killed by IDF live fire.
Israel has faced international condemnation for its conduct on the border, with the UN human rights chief and others accusing Israel of using “disproportionate” force.
However, Israel has defended its use of live fire claiming Hamas engineers the marches to infiltrate the border and carry out terror attacks.
Israel has fought three wars with Hamas since the Islamist militant group took control of Gaza in 2007 following Palestinian elections.
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