An IDF platoon commander was injured Tuesday morning during a patrol near the Kissufim crossing on the Gaza border.

A loud explosion was heard at the scene, where troops were conducting a patrol. It is not yet clear whether the explosion was caused by mortar fire or a roadside bomb.

The officer received first aid treatment at the site and was then evacuated by helicopter to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. Initially said to be in moderate condition, the IDF Spokesman’s Office later said his condition was critical. The officer reportedly suffered from injuries to the head and to his limbs.

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Residents of the area were instructed to remain near bomb shelters.

On Monday the air force killed three Palestinian terrorists and injured four others in air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers reported in a text message to reporters that one of the men killed was a member of the group’s military wing. The Popular Resistance Committees said in an e-mail that the second man was from its ranks.

A third man died of his injuries later Monday night. His affiliation was not clear.

Hamas’s military branch promised to retaliate

The strikes came in response to rockets fired on southern towns and mortar fire on an IDF patrol.

No injuries or damage were caused by the rockets.