Gaza City, Palestinian Territories | AFP | Israeli jets struck the Gaza Strip on Saturday after four soldiers were wounded when an improvised explosive device blew up along the border with the Palestinian enclave.
The explosion earlier Saturday, which left two of the Israeli soldiers severely injured, was one of the most serious incidents on the border of the Hamas-ruled enclave since the Islamist movement and Israel fought a war in 2014.
In response Israel’s army said “fighter jets targeted six military targets in Gaza belonging to Hamas, including: a terror tunnel in the Zaytun area and military compounds near Deir el-Balah and Khan Yunis”.
The army then reported a “launch was identified from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory”.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a security conference in Munich called the Gaza border incident “very serious” and pledged to “respond appropriately”.
A Palestinian security source said the Israeli air strikes hit three bases belonging to Hamas in the east of the blockaded Gaza enclave.
Two Palestinians were injured in the raids, Palestinian medical sources said.
Earlier in the day the army said “two soldiers were severely wounded, one moderately and one slightly” when an improvised explosive device blew up along the border fence with Gaza.
None of the soldiers’ lives were in danger, a spokesman clarified.
In response Israeli forces said a tank quickly opened fire at an “observation post” in southern Gaza, causing no injuries on the Palestinian side.
Palestinian security sources said the explosion took place east of the city of Khan Yunis.
– ‘Rogue group’ –
Spokesman Jonathan Conricus said a “rogue group” had claimed responsibility for the blast, likely indicating one of the more radical Islamist groups who are present in Gaza.
But he insisted that “from our point of view Hamas is responsible” and said the explosive had been planted during a protest arranged by the group on Friday.