Three Israeli soldiers were wounded in an exchange of fire with a Palestinian gunman who crossed the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning. Israeli troops returned fire, killing the attacker.
“Over the last few hours, an IDF officer and two soldiers were wounded after a terrorist from Gaza breached the security fence into Israel and opened fire at them,” the IDF Spokesperson Unit said in a statement.
According to the IDF, the terrorist was armed with a rifle and grenades and was wearing a Hamas uniform. He was identified by Gaza media as Hani Abu Salah, a member of Hamas’s military wing whose brother was killed in a clash with the IDF last May. According to an IDF spokesperson, Israel believes Abu Salah was not acting on the orders of Hamas.
The army closed roads near the border and deployed additional troops to area communities during the incident.
The army also reported that a Hamas military post in Gaza had been fired on by an Israeli tank in retaliation for the attack.
The wounded soldiers were evacuated to Beersheva’s Soroka Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. Two of the soldiers were released after just a few hours, while the officer, with moderate wounds, was admitted for treatment.
The IDF concluded on Wednesday a four-day, large-scale exercise meant to simulate a war with terrorist groups in Gaza, including scenarios such as a takeover of Ashkelon by sea and the Israeli takeover of a Gaza neighborhood.
“We have strengthened our preparedness for a possible campaign in Gaza … which could break out any day,” said IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi.