Israeli forces killed a commander in Hamas’ military wing in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials in the Strip said on Sunday, according to Haaretz. Five people were killed, according to the Gaza Health ministry, and seven wounded.
“During operational activity in the Gaza Strip, an exchange of fire evolved. More details to follow,” an Israeli army statement said.
Palestinian security sources said the clash occurred east of Khan Yunis. Local reports in Gaza said Israeli planes fired at the open area near the incident.
Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said six Palestinians were killed. One of the dead was a local commander for Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, a local hospital reported.
After the clash erupted, sirens were reported in southern Israel, indicating possible rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said all Israeli soldiers involved had returned to Israel.
“IDF operated in the Gaza Strip, exchange of gunfire ensued,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to the Israel Defence Forces. “All IDF soldiers back in Israel. Several alarms have sounded in southern Israel.”
A Hamas spokesman denounced a “cowardly Israeli attack.”
Hamas’s military wing also issued a statement: “This is evening special forces belonging to the zionist enemy infiltrated in a civilian car in the area of the Martyr Ismail Abu Shanab mosque, 3km east of Khan Younis. This special force assassinated the Qassam commander Noor Baraka.”
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman was holding consultations at Israel’s military headquarters to discuss the situation, his office said in a statement cited by Reuters.
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