3 killed in IDF strike in northern Gaza

IDF: Target was terror cell on way to fire mortar shells; relatives: They were just having a picnic.

A weekend of relative quiet along the Gaza border and in southern Israel was shattered Saturday afternoon when IDF troops spotted what they said was a mortar-launching cell on its way to launch an attack against Israel communities in the western Negev. The IDF responded, launching a missile at the cell, killing three Palestinians and wounding two others, Palestinian sources said. The IDF Southern Command Spokesperson's Office confirmed Saturday evening that the IDF had engaged a mortar-launching cell operating near the northern part of the Gaza border fence and that soldiers had confirmed that at least some of their targets had been hit. Relatives of the three casualties, however, said they were all civilians - bankers who had been having a picnic in an open field when the missile struck. Overnight Thursday, two Islamic Jihad gunmen were killed and one was wounded in an IAF missile strike in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources said. The gunmen were hit near the El-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. The IDF confirmed aircraft were operating against terrorist targets in the area. Hamas sources said the gunmen were members of Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad's military wing. The IAF missile reportedly hit the group when they were trying to clandestinely travel to El-Bureij from another refugee camp in Gaza. Hours later, two Kassam rockets fired from Gaza landed in open areas near Sderot on Friday morning. No one was wounded and no damage was reported, despite the high number of people who had traveled there to show solidarity with the beleaguered western Negev town. Two more rockets were fired at the western Negev on Friday evening.