The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group vowed Sunday to avenge the deaths of its members who were killed earlier in the day when Israel struck a post manned by the group in the Gaza Strip.
An Israeli tank fired at the Islamic Jihad position in response to an explosive device which had been planted along the Gaza border fence.
“We will not give up our duty to the blood of the martyrs shed by the occupation, and we know how to respond to this dangerous escalation,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement.
According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, three people were killed in the Israeli strike, near the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. One was initially listed as seriously injured but later died of his wounds
The Gazan health ministry identified two of those killed as Hussein al-Amour, 25, and Abdul Haleem al-Naqa, 28.
The Israel Defense Forces said the improvised explosive device, hidden inside a pair of bolt cutters, was placed along the security fence on Saturday.
“Its goal was to injure the [IDF] troops operating in the area. It was neutralized this morning by the IDF,” the army said.
The army used a robot to detonate the explosive under controlled conditions.
The Islamic Jihad post that was targeted in the tank strike overlooked the portion of the fence where the IED had been planted.
In general, the IDF targets Hamas positions in response to attacks or attempted attacks from the Gaza Strip, as the terrorist group rules the coastal enclave.
The targeting of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad position likely indicates that the army had specific intelligence that the Iran-backed group was behind the attempted IED attack.
In February, four IDF soldiers were injured by an IED that was made to look like a flagstaff, which was fixed to the security fence. When the soldiers tried to take down the object, it detonated.
Sunday morning’s exchange was the latest in a series of cross-border incidents over the weekend.
Late Saturday night, Israeli aircraft carried out a series of strikes against Hamas positions in the southern Gaza Strip late Saturday night, following a border breach earlier in the day, the army said.
Agencies contributed to this report.