Two Kassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip struck southern Israel on Sunday, hours after the IDF fired on several Palestinians suspected of planting explosives along the security fence, killing two Islamic Jihad terrorists.

A combined force of IAF helicopters and armored troops reported direct hits on the suspects. Islamic Jihad’s military wing said in a statement that two of its fighters had been killed in the incident east of Khan Yunis. Israeli military sources confirmed the two deaths.

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An IDF statement noted that a number of bombs had been detonated near IDF patrols along the border in the past month.

“The presence of Palestinian civilians in the area adjacent to the security fence is used by terrorist organizations as a cover for their activities, including the planting of explosive devices, planning terrorist attacks and attempting to kidnap IDF soldiers,” the statement said. “For this reason, the IDF will not allow anyone to be present in this area.”

Speaking on the second anniversary of the start of Operation Cast Lead, Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom expressed the hope that there would not be an escalation of violence with Gaza.

“I hope there is not need for another operation such as Cast Lead,” Shalom told Israel Radio.

“But if this situation continues, if rockets keep being smuggled in and they continue shooting at Israel in an attempt to hit innocent civilians, then obviously we will have to respond, and respond forcefully.”

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