Three armed Palestinians were killed by IDF troops as they tried to cross into southern Israel from Beit Hanoun shortly after three rockets were launched into southern Israel, the IDF said on Saturday night.“A short time ago, an IDF force identified a number of armed suspects near the Gaza perimeter fence,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement, adding that “an IDF attack helicopter and tank shot at them.” The three armed men were engaged and killed by IDF troops after they attempted to infiltrate across the border fence.They were identified by Palestinian media as 21 year-old Mohammed Al-Taramsi, 23 year-old Mohammad Abu Namous and 22 year-old Mahmoud Al-Walaydeh. Their bodies were recovered by medical crews Sunday morning and moved to the Indonesian hospital before their burial later in the day.The three were wrapped in flags belonging to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Fatah and Hamas’ Izzedin al-Qassem brigades during their burial.While no group claimed responsibility for the infiltration attempt, PIJ mourned the three men and warned that Israel is fully responsible for “it’s heinous crimes against the Palestinian people” and that the group reserves “the right of our people to resist and confront all forms of Zionist agression.”The group stressed that “the crime of targeting a group of angry youths” comes against a backdrop of “systematic terrorism, escalation aggression, ongoing siege, daily incursions in the al-Aqsa Mosque, agression against prisoners and settlement expansion. It is an aggression that comes in the context of the declared war on our people.”The attempted infiltration came after three rockets were fired towards southern Israel, with one Qassem rocket striking the yard of a home in Sderot. Two people sustained minor injuries Saturday evening while running to bomb shelters during the rocket sirens, a 30 year-old woman who fainted and a 76-year-old woman who required hospitalization.
While the rocket fire on Saturday night was the second time in a row with a rocket fired from the Hamas-run enclave on Friday night leading to Israeli retaliatory strikes, Israel did not respond to the rocket fire to hit Sderot.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was slammed by political leaders for the non-response to the attacks, said on Sunday afternoon that if necessary Israel could embark on a broad military campaign in Gaza regardless of elections."I've heard statements saying that I would refrain from embarking on a broad campaign because of the elections," he said before taking off to Ukraine. "This is not true. My considerations are case-relevant. If it is necessary, we will go into broad action - with or without elections- we will do what is necessary for the safety of Israel."Sderot mayor on Sunday told Israeli media that the government should give the green light for a full-blown military operation in the Hamas-run coastal enclave.“We need to go on a wide-scale operation right now to eradicate Hamas, without waiting for other timings,” Davidi told Army Radio. “Only force can stop them.”He told Channel 13 that there is no other choice but a ground operation in the Gaza Strip after the last week, saying “we have gone through an unpleasant weekend with red alerts for two days in a row. Sderot residents are on the one hand trying to keep to their normal routines, but on the other hand there is no choice in the current situation but to go on a ground operation in the Gaza Strip.”Foreign Minister Israel Katz dismissed the possibility of a ground invasion, telling Army Radio that “what happened yesterday in Sderot will not be left without a response. We are maintaining a policy of not initiating a wide-scale operation but keeping the deterrence.”The leader of the Blue and White party former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz visited the Israeli communities bordering the Strip on Sunday morning and said that “the deterrence hasn’t been eroded, it’s been erased.”Criticising Netanyahu’s policy towards the Strip, Gantz said that if elected his party “will defeat Hamas militarily, we’ll bring quiet to the residents of the south, and will not allow this to spill over into the West Bank.”
#Palestinians killed last night by #IDF fire as they tried to cross from #Gaza into #Israel have been identified as Mohammed Al-Taramsi, Mohammad Abu Namous and Mahmoud Al-Walaydeh. pic.twitter.com/gcZwp2yHQo— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) August 18, 2019