Israeli Airstrike Kills Two Palestinian Militants in Gaza Strip

IDF says the two were involved in rocket fire and were planning attacks against civilians.


Israel Air Force on Friday afternoon struck a target in the northern Gaza Strip, killing two people, Palestinian sources reported.

A spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry said the target was a civilian vehicle driving on a road on the Gaza coast, near al-Shati refugee camp and not far from the home of Ismail Haniyeh, the second in command in Hamas' political bureau.

Reports said several others were wounded in the stirke.

Palestinian reports identified the two killed in the attack as Mohammed al-Fasih, 23, and Usama al-Hassumi, 25, residents of the Shikh Radwan neighborhood  north of Gaza City. The two were members of Salah al-Din Brigades, the Popular Resistance Committees' military wing.

The Israel Defense Forces said al-Fasihand and al-Hassumi were involved in rocket fire at Israel's south in recent weeks, a statement published following the attack said. It added that the two were in recent days planning "severe terrorist attacks" against Israeli civilians. 

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said after the attack that rocket fire from Gaza will not go unanswered. He said Israel "will hunt down and hit hard" anyone involved in or planning rocket fire at Israel. Ya'alon added that Israel sees Hamas as responsible for any attack from Gaza.

On Friday evening, rocket sirens went off in the Eshkol Regional Council in southern Israel. Three rockets launched from Gaza exploded in open areas, no injuries or damage were reported.

Earlier on Friday morning, a bomb exploded near army troops carrying out routine activity near the southern Gaza Strip’s security fence. There were no injuries.

The troops returned fire at lookout points in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian medical officials in Gaza reported Friday morning that five people - an 8-year-old boy, two women and two men in their 20s - were wounded east of Khan Yunis by the troops’ gunfire. According to accounts from Gaza, 10 shells were fired at homes and the plaza of a mosque in the town of Huzaa.

Israeli army troops arrested nine Palestinians in the West Bank several hours previously, during the night. Troops found a bomb in Idhna and two handguns in Beitunia.

On Thursday, the military released the findings of its inquiry into an incident in which a Palestinian man from the Gaza Strip was captured wielding a grenade at the entrance to a community in southern Israel, after he climbed the security fence on Sunday. IDF officials said that the inquiry “revealed failures in the performance of several circles of troops,” so it was decided to take several measures at the command and disciplinary levels. The company commander was reprimanded and the deputy company commander and operations officer in the battalion’s command room were dismissed from their positions.