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Two Hamas activists were killed yesterday in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia by Israel Defense Forces fire in an attack on a Hamas position. The two were identified as Mohammed Sabah and Ayad Aziz.

Also yesterday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi toured the border area with the Gaza Strip. They were briefed by GOC Southern Command Major General Yoav Galant and the commander of the Gaza Brigade, Brigadier General Moshe Tamir.

"Your activity limits the extent of mortars and Qassam fire," Barak told Golani Brigade soldiers during the visit. "We know that in the end we expect to reach more extensive action in which you will also take part, but we aren't running there and we'll reach it after everything else has been exhausted."

Barak praised the Golani fighters for their recent successes in a series of clashes last month in the area. Some 40 terrorists were killed in the incidents. "The spirit that has entered the ranks of the IDF is that of seeking out and engaging the enemy, of assault of initiative to set out for the task, and willing in every grove and behind every building."