IDF hits Gaza terrorist cell, killing two

Terrorists open fire, shoot mortar shells at Israelis near Kibbutz Zikim; IDF responds; no soldiers wounded.

Security fence near Givat Ze'ev 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Security fence near Givat Ze'ev 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Palestinian terrorists opened fire on IDF engineers carrying out work on the security fence on the Gaza border on Thursday, prompting a prolonged exchange of fire in which two gunmen were killed. No soldiers were wounded.
The attack occurred near Kibbutz Zikim in the western Negev, which borders the northern section of the Gaza Strip. Palestinian gunmen opened fire on army engineers using machine guns and mortars. RELATED:IDF prepares for Gaza escalation as ceasefire attemptedIsrael holds off on Gaza operation at Egypt's request
Soldiers who were securing the site returned fire, and directed tank fire at the terrorists as well. Local commanders called for aerial support. An air force helicopter was dispatched to the scene and also opened fire on the terrorist cell.
Palestinian medical sources later said two gunmen were killed.
The attack ended a period of calm that came after an upsurge in rocket attacks from Gaza on southern Israel earlier this week.
Some 40 rockets were fired at Israel during the escalation, killing a civilian in Ashkelon and damaging residential neighborhoods in a number of southern cities.
On Sunday, the IDF approved a series of operations aimed at widening the scope of its responses to Islamic Jihad rocket attacks, but delayed the operation at Egypt’s request. Egyptian mediators held talks with Palestinian factions in the hopes of getting them to halt the rocket attacks.