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A Fatah faction, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), claimed responsibility for Monday's shooting that wounded an Israel Defense Forces soldier and a civilian, saying it came in revenge for the killing of three Palestinian boys last week.

The two Israelis were wounded Monday afternoon when a Palestinian sniper opened fire on them in southern Gaza, close to the border with Egypt.

A career soldier in the Combat Engineering Corps was moderately wounded and the civilian was lightly wounded, Israel Radio reported.

The two received emergency medical treatment at the scene, before being transferred to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva. Hospital staff later reported the soldier's condition had improved and his life was not in danger.

The attack took place along the Philadelphi Route, in an area where a defensive barrier is being built.

The PRC, a coalition of militants, is a faction of Fatah which operates primarily in southern Gaza and is not committed to the cease-fire between Israel and most Palestinian groups. It is headed by Jamal Abu Smahadana, who has previously been the target of an Israeli assassination attempt.

The group said it was avenging the killing of three unarmed Palestinian youths by Israel Defense Forces troops in Rafah several days ago, and of a militant during a raid in a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus last Thursday.

The IDF investigation into the circumstances of the Rafah incident in which the three youths were killed determined that the soldiers shot to kill, and did not aim at the lower body as they initially claimed.

In a separate incident on Monday afternoon, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a crossing point where Palestinian workers enter the Neveh Dekalim settlement in southern Gaza. There were no casualties.