Hamas threatens retaliation for strike on bomb-planting cell
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Hamas threatens retaliation for strike on bomb-planting cell

Group says one man killed, three injured in IAF attack; army tells Israeli farmers to keep distance from border

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Photo shared by the IDF shows what the army says is an explosives device that Palestinian operatives attempted to place at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, January 13, 2016. (IDF spokesperson)
Photo shared by the IDF shows what the army says is an explosives device that Palestinian operatives attempted to place at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, January 13, 2016. (IDF spokesperson)

Hamas threatened to retaliate Wednesday for an airstrike that the IDF said targeted operatives planting a bomb along the Gaza border fence.

The organization insisted that Israel had not targeted fighters, but civilians.

“The attack on civilians by the Zionist occupation today in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip amounts to Israel playing with fire,” a spokesman for the organization, Salah Bardawil, said in a statement.

The Israeli Air Force strike killed one man and wounded three others, Palestinian health officials said.

Hamas claimed the attack came from an Israel Navy ship, not an aircraft.

Hamas spokesman Salah Bardawil. (YouTube screenshot)
Hamas spokesman Salah Bardawil (YouTube screenshot)

Intelligence gathered by the IDF and Shin Bet security service indicated the cell was placing the improvised explosive device along the fence separating Gaza from Israel, the IDF said in a statement.

During the operation, the army found additional IEDs and operatives waiting nearby, who were preparing to detonate the explosives against IDF troops, an army official said.

Though Hamas announced the death of Musa Zuiater, it was not immediately clear which organization the cell was affiliated with.

https://twitter.com/qassamsms/status/687176065891041280

Following the airstrike, and in response to the threat of IEDs, the army instructed Israeli farmers in the area surrounding the northern Gaza Strip to stay clear of the border until further notice, an IDF spokesperson said.

“Forces guarding the border with Gaza face a growing threat from hostile terror groups attempting to destabilize the situation on the ground. The IDF will continue to protect the residents of Israel and the forces guarding them on the borders,” IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.

The northern Gaza Strip has seen a spate of attacks against Israel in recent months, including rocket fire, violent demonstrations along the border and IEDs targeting IDF troops on the border.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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