3 Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants killed in Gaza airstrike
The Israeli Air Force today conducted an airstrike against a terror cell in the Gaza Strip. The targeted cell had fired a mortar shell at Israeli forces prior to being struck, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
In a statement posted on its website, Palestinian Islamic Jihad's al Quds Brigades said three of its fighters had been killed in the incident. The three militants were identified as Abdel Shafi Saleh Muammar, Shaher Hamouda Abu Shanab, and Ismail Hamid Abu Jouda.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad also released video purporting to show its fighters firing mortars at Israeli forces prior to being struck.
Meanwhile, a couple of hours prior to the airstrike, an Israeli reconnaissance drone crashed while operating over the Gaza Strip. Israeli authorities are currently investigating the cause of the crash. Hamas' Izz al Din al Qassam Brigades has claimed to be in possession of the crashed drone, AFP reported.
Today's airstrike comes just over a week after Israel struck a Gaza rocket squad. At least two Palestinian militants, one from Palestinian Islamic Jihad and one from the Mujahideen Brigades, were killed in the airstrike.
Israeli officials have expressed concern in recent weeks about escalating violence emanating from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. "The situation is stable, but we are seeing a creeping escalation," one military official told the Jerusalem Post in late February.