Two men was killed and three were seriously injured in an Israeli airstrike in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, Palestinian media reported Monday evening.
One of the men killed was identified by Gaza’s health ministry as 21-year-old Mus’ab Za’aneen. Palestinian media said Za’aneen was a member of Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades.
IDF spokesman Peter Lerner confirmed that Israeli aircraft targeted Gaza terrorists as they were preparing to launch rockets at southern Israel.
“IDF intelligence, operational capability and determination to eliminate a real time threat keeps Israelis safe in their homes,” Lerner wrote on his twitter account.
The Israeli air force struck an underground rocket launcher near Beit Hanoun on Friday night, with no injuries reported, based on reports of an imminent rocket attack.
January saw a drastic increase in rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, with 20 mortar and rocket firings into Israel; triple the average amount of monthly attacks throughout 2013.
Israeli military officials blame the flare-up on small Gaza factions and renegade elements in the Islamic Jihad, seeking to undermine Hamas’s understandings with Israel following Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2011.