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      Israeli Air Force Strikes Gaza in Response to Mortar Attack

      IAF strikes terrorists preparing to launch rockets at Israeli towns.
      By Ari Soffer
      First Publish: 1/9/2014, 10:37 AM

      IAF air strike in Gaza (illustration)
      IAF air strike in Gaza (illustration)
      Flash 90

      The Israeli Air Force struck terrorist targets in Gaza Thursday morning, wounded two Palestinian terrorists in the south of the Islamist-controlled territory, medical and security sources said.  

      "Two Palestinians were hit and injured by an Israeli drone while they were riding on a motorbike east of Khan Yunis," Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP.    

      Hamas security sources described the two as "militants", without saying to which group they belonged.  

      The IDF confirmed the strike in a statement, saying it had "intercepted terrorists during their final preparations to launch rockets towards Israel".

      The strike came after three mortar rounds were fired at Israeli troops along the southern border fence, causing no injuries or damage, it said.

      On Wednesday, an Islamic Jihad terrorist was killed near Gaza City in unclear circumstances. Medics and family said was an Israeli drone strike, but the army denied any involvement, raising the possibility the extremist was killed in a "work accident" whilst preparing or transporting explosives.

      In recent weeks, tensions have risen in and around Gaza after a year of relative calm, with five people killed since December 20 when terrorists clashed with IDF forces along the border. The next day, soldiers shot and wounded a terrorist as he planted a bomb near the security fence.

      But the violence seriously escalated three days later, when a terrorist sniper shot and killed an Israeli civilian worker. In response, the Israeli Air Force bombed Hamas targets in Gaza.

      Last week, another terrorist was killed whilst attempting to breach the border fence.