Two Hamas militants were killed Tuesday after the IDF shelled a Hamas position near Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip after troops came under fire while on patrol.
The two men were identified by the Palestinian Ministry of Health as Ahmad Morjan and Abed el-Hafeth el-Sillawi, both 23 year-old and members of the terror group’s military wing the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Another six were reported to have been injured in the shelling.
The IDF estimates that the two were snipers who opened fire at IDF soldiers, which led to a response from the troops. No Israeli troops were hurt in the incident.
"The IDF will act against any offense and every attempt to attack our forces, and considers the Hamas terrorist organization as responsible for everything happening in and out of the Gaza Strip,” read a statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
Hamas for its part released a statement saying that Israel was responsible for any escalation with the blockaded coastal enclave and that the group views the “deliberate targeting” of the militants “very seriously.”
“The resistance will not allow the occupation to impose a policy of targeting fighters without a cost,” the group added.
The incident takes place while a delegation of very senior Hamas officials, led by Hamas Deputy Chairman Saleh al-Arouri, are in the Gaza strip to discuss a UN-proposed ceasefire agreement with Israel.
On Sunday Israel’s Security Cabinet met to discuss the proposed ceasefire agreement after which the Prime Minister’s Office released a statement saying that the IDF was ready for any eventuality.
Despite the ceasefire talks, dozens of fires have ignited following the continued launching of aerial incendiary devices into southern Israel. In response IDF aircraft have continued to strike the cells launching the devices, most recently on Monday.
Hundreds of incendiary devices have been launched towards Israel since late March when Gazans began weekly protests along the border with Israel.
The protests along the border have been dubbed
the greatest threats to Israeli security in the region since operation Protective Edge due to the combination of terror tunnels, riots, attempted infiltration and the use of incendiary items.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 157 Gazans have been killed since the start of the weekly 'March of Return.'
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