Ma'an – An Israeli airstrike at midday killed one and injured a second, hours after Israeli artillery fire injured three children on Thursday in Johur Ad-Dik, central Gaza.
An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the strike, saying it was in retaliation against militants who had fired on Israeli patrol jeeps earlier that morning. He said the Israeli patrol had been operating on the east side of the Gaza border, and that soldiers returned fire in the direction of the attack.
The same spokesman later identified the slain man as 26-year-old Faris Ahmad Jaber of Gaza City, allegedly affiliated with the "Global Jihad," a previously unknown group in Gaza.
The spokesman said Jaber and one other man were preparing to launch an attack on Israel when they were targeted. The second man was not identified, but the spokesman said he was known to have been involved in planning a separate attack on Israel.
Dr Muawiya Hassanein, head of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, said shrapnel from Israeli artillery fire in the early morning caused injury to three children identified as Afaf Ismail At-Tarabin, 13, and her sisters Ahlam, 11, and Muna, five. They were all transferred to the Ash-Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital in Gaza, he said.
Sources in Gaza confirmed reports of projectile fire at a group of Israeli military vehicles near the Karni crossing, just north of Johur Ad-Dik. No brigade has claimed the attack.
Earlier in the morning, the Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said member Muhammad Said Hassuneh from the Ash-Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in northern Gaza City was killed during a "jihad" mission. The body of the man was received at the same hospital as the children.
The Israeli military spokesman said the country "holds Hamas responsible" for maintaining the calm in Gaza, and would act against any party plotting against Israel.
The airstrike is the second in two days, following hits on the Rafah area in southern Gaza, which targeted an empty building near the demolished Yasser Arafat International Airport.