An Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip has killed a Palestinian fighter and wounded another, after they fired mortar shells at Israeli tanks involved in an incursion near the southern town of Khan Yunis, Palestinian medics and eyewitnesses have said.
Gaza security sources said that Israeli tanks had entered into east Khan Yunis in a village called Qarara, opening fire at civilian houses in the area early on Sunday.
The dead man was named as Kamel Qarara, 25, a member of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement. The wounded man, not immediately named, was also a member of the group.
The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades said the men were killed during a confrontation with the Israeli tanks in Qarara.
Gaza secuirty sources said an Israeli drone had fired a rocket at the group of fighters.
An Israeli military statement confirmed a strike by the Israel Air Force (IAF) but not that Israeli tanks had entered the Palestinian territory and come under Palestinian fire.
“IAF aircraft targeted a rocket launching site and squad in the central Gaza Strip, during final preparations to fire a rocket towards southern Israel,” the IAF said in a statement.
“Secondary explosions were identified,” it added, implying that ammunition or explosives were hit.
The statement said the attack was in retaliation to rockets being fired into southern Israel from Gaza.
The exchange took place after a three-day lull, after Israeli airstrikes had killed a total of four Palestinians in retaliation to rockets fired into Israel.
According to the Israeli army, during the course of October Palestinians have fired more than 150 rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip.