Israeli army spokesmen said army officers ordered an aerial strike after a terrorist cell was spotted as it approached the security fence in Gaza. Terrorist cells frequently try to the breach the fence to carry out sniper fire on Israeli soldiers or to plant bombs intended to explode when army jeeps pass by.
The incident occurred in south-central Gaza, near the site of former Jewish communities that the government destroyed as part of the 2005 expulsion and "disengagement” from Gaza. Last Friday, the IDF killed a Hamas commander following a rocket attack on the port city of Ashkelon, home to oil and gas pipelines and a large generating station that supplies power to most of the south and parts of Gaza.
Israel faced attacks on two other fronts the past two days—Katyusha rocket attacks on Eilat and Tuesday’s ambush on Israeli forces in Israeli territory near the northern border. One of the rockets on Eilat exploded on the Jordanian side of the Gulf of Aqaba, killing one person. No Israelis were injured.
The ambush in the north took the life of reserve officer Lt.-Col. Dan Harari, a battalion commander, and seriously injured reserve Captain Ezra Lakia. Israel returned fire and killed three Lebanese army soldiers and a journalist who been invited by Lebanon to film the ambush.
Although Iran and Syria give aid to terrorists in Lebanon and Gaza, Israel does not consider the attacks to be coordinated.