JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel killed two Hamas fighters following shooting attacks on its soldiers, spurring threats of revenge from the terrorist group that runs the Gaza Strip.
On Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces used tank fire against a Hamas military post in northern Gaza in response to the shooting at Israeli troops from there. No Israeli soldiers were injured in the Hamas attack.
The two Palestinians killed were members of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.
Hamas said Israel would pay a “price” in what it called an “escalation.”
The Israeli strike reportedly hit a graduation ceremony of al-Qassam at a Hamas military base with senior Hamas figures in attendance.
The incident took place as Egypt was working to broker a cease-fire deal between Hamas and Israel.
“The IDF is prepared to target any aggression against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for everything happening in and emanating from the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said in a statement.
The IDF spokesman also posted online a video of the Hamas terrorists shooting at Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip outpost.
Hamas said in response that “Israel is responsible for this entire escalation,” and warned that “the resistance will not accept the [Israeli] policy of attacking its positions and fighters without Israel paying a price.”
An Israeli official told Israeli media that no agreement with Hamas would take place without the release of two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, and the bodies of two soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Some officials suggest that an interim agreement could be implemented with talks on those being held in Gaza waiting for a final stage.