Israeli soldiers kill 2 Islamic militants: Palestinians

The two militants died during an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers.

Last Updated: Dec 26, 2010, 12:33 PM IST

Gaza City: Israeli soldiers shot dead two members of Islamic Jihad on the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, Palestinian and Israeli sources said.

The two militants died to the east of Khan Yunis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, during an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers, said witnesses and the Al-Quds brigade, a militant Islamist group.

An Israeli Army spokeswoman confirmed the clash.

"Soldiers opened fire on members of a terrorist cell which was trying to place an explosive charge in the immediate vicinity of the security barrier," she said. The barrier separates Israel from the Gaza Strip.

"The incident happened in the south of the Gaza Strip and helicopters backed up the fire of the soldiers," she added.

She said that after a similar incident a month in which there were no casualties, "soldiers received instructions not to hesitate to open fire when they saw terrorists placing booby-trap devices near the barrier."

Tension has been rising in recent days along the Gaza Strip, where radical armed Islamist groups have been stepping up their military activities, firing mortars and rockets into southern Israel.

Israel has in reprisal launched several air raids, the last early Saturday, which have left at least two people wounded and caused a power cut in Gaza City.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has nevertheless continued to observe its ceasefire against Israel, while warning that is ready to resume fighting if there is an Israeli attack on the territory.

Bureau Report