Thousands of Gaza Arabs rioted on Sunday night at the border fence, demanding that Hamas and Islamic Jihad “avenge” the deaths of three Arabs who were killed when Israeli forces spotted them acting suspiciously at the border. In a statement Monday, Islamic Jihad said that it would “respond appropriately at the right time.”
The incident occurred late Sunday, when Israeli forces spotted three individuals at the border fence in the area of Kissufim. The three were acting suspiciously, and appeared to be preparing an explosive device or a terror balloon to be launched at Israel.
An Israeli plane dropped a bomb in the area of the group. After about an hour, Gaza medical teams approached the border, to find that the members of the group were dead, Gaza sources claimed.
According to the sources, the three were 13-year-old students. As word spread of the incident, thousands of Gaza Arabs came out late Sunday to demand “revenge.”
The IDF has issued many warnings to civilians to stay away from the border area, which is a war zone. The incident could be an indication that the IDF was increasing pressure on terror gangs that launch balloons with attached incendiary devices, or who attempt to infiltrate the border fence.
Generally, Israeli planes drop bombs far enough away from the gangs so that they are not harmed, but are frightened enough to disperse, but apparently the army had decided this time to target the suspicious individuals, Channel 20 said.
Over the weekend, southern Israel was targeted with some 40 rockets – and Israeli officials attributed those attacks Friday night to Islamic Jihad. In a statement, the IDF spokesperson attributed the rocket attacks to Islamic Jihad, but said that the IDF considers Hamas responsible for everything that happens in Gaza. “We consider the attacks on Israeli towns overnight Friday as very serious incidents. The attacks were conducted in an atmosphere of terror that Hamas has fostered. The IDF will act with determination to prevent any attacks from Gaza, and we are prepared for all scenarios.”
On Sunday, the London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported that Hamas terrorists were “extremely angry” with their Islamic Jihad counterparts over the attacks, which were carried out without coordination with or permission of Hamas. Hamas blamed Islamic Jihad for harming the attempts to come to understandings with Israel, which could lead to an easing of the Israeli blockade on Gaza.