Israel mistet to soldater i kamp med en Al Qaida-gruppe på den sørlige Gaza-stripen fredag kveld. Etter hvert som kampen eskalerte og israelske stridsvogner krysset grensen, stilte også Hamas seg bak kampen.
Nye raketter ble skutt mot Israel lørdag, en landet nær en kibbutz, en falt ned innen Gaza.
Det har vært en alvorlig opptrapping den siste uken. Et tap på to soldater går inn på israelerne.
Det virker som om Al Qaida-inspirerte grupper har handlingsrom til å foreta seg ting på egen hånd. Når ting eskalerer velger Hamas å stille seg bak dem. Det skaper en usikkerhet og risiko som kan utløse mer omfattende aksjoner.
Hamas velger igjen den væpnede kamp.
Peretz and Sviatkovsky were killed when a team of soldiers from Golani’s Battalion 12 entered the Strip around 2:40 p.m. after several men were spotted placing what seemed to be explosive devices near the Gaza border fence on Thursday night.
The force was then attacked with mortar shells and gunfire from inside the Strip, as well as an explosive device that went off nearby. In the fire exchange that ensued, at least one Palestinian was killed and several others wounded.
But the soldiers were not killed by the explosive device but by gunfire, when the grenade in one of the soldiers’ vests was hit by a Palestinian bullet and exploded on his body.
The military was uncertain whether the incident was a prepared ambush or if the fire exchange began because the soldiers crossed the border fence into Gaza.
The IDF was using helicopters and mortar fire against the Palestinians, who reportedly belong to the Jaljalat, an extremist al-Qaida inspired group. The group is not affiliated with Hamas.
Late Friday evening, the Hamas Website said the group’s gunmen were involved — a departure from the Islamic terror group’s tendency over the past year to avoid confrontation with Israeli forces.
Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida told Hamas radio that IDF forces «fell into an ambush» set by Hamas terrorists east of Khan Younis. He did not elaborate. He said IDF troops entered 500 meters into Gaza «but our men preempted them.»
He also said the action was taken in revenge to the killing of Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, which Hamas pinned on Israel.
Islamic Jihad also claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the attack was intended to kidnap a soldier.