IDF shoot 2 Hamas gunmen in Gaza

Soldiers thwart attempted infiltration of the southern border fence.

IDF vehicle in Gaza 311 (photo credit: Tsafrir Abayov/AP)
IDF vehicle in Gaza 311
(photo credit: Tsafrir Abayov/AP)
Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip heated up over the weekend when IDF troops successfully thwarted an attempt by Hamas gunmen to cross the security fence and commit a terrorist attack.
On Friday afternoon, IDF troops spotted two Palestinian gunmen trying to cross the border fence near Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, close to Kibbutz Nirim. Givati Brigade soldiers, accompanied by tanks, shot the two dead, and later discovered rifles and ammunition magazines on their bodies.
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Another cell which had stayed back in Gaza to provide cover for the infiltrators opened fire at the troops. Security forces sealed off the four Israeli communities in the area, where thousands of people live, until the gun-battle was over.
Later in the evening, an IDF tracker was moderately wounded by sniper fire along the Gaza border. He was evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.
Hamas, which has scaled back its rocket fire into Israel since Operation Cast Lead last year, claimed responsibility for the incident. IDF sources said that the gunmen likely planned to attack soldiers stationed along the border, or to infiltrate a nearby Israeli community.
The officials said that while Hamas was refraining from firing rockets into Israel, it was actively involved in attacks along the border and its operatives were frequently involved in shooting at IDF soldiers patrolling the Gaza security fence.
Hamas on Friday slammed Israel for giving Hamas legislator Mohammed Abu Tir, an east Jerusalem resident who was released from prison last week, until June 19 to leave Jerusalem.
Abu Tir and three other senior Hamas officials were stripped of their Jerusalem residency papers in 2006, following the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
AP contributed to this report