An Israeli aircraft bombed a group of Palestinian operatives who were placing an explosive device on the border in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning, the army said.
One man was killed in the strike and three more were injured, according to Hamas, which claimed the attack came not from an aircraft, but from an Israel Navy ship.
Hamas threatened revenge for the strike, with a spokesman warning Israel was “playing with fire.”
Intelligence gathered by the Israel Defense Forces and the 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 as well as operatives waiting to detonate them 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.
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.
— Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) January 13, 2016
The northern Gaza Strip has of late been a more active source of attacks against Israel than the southern portions of the coastal enclave. Rocket fire, violent demonstrations along the border and IEDs have been on the increase in areas near the Sha’ar Hanegev settlements in recent months.