A bomb attack against an Israeli military patrol along the border with the Gaza Strip killed an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officer and wounded three others on Tuesday including one who was severely hurt.
The violence started an Israel air attack Tuesday which was followed by more attacks Wednesday.
The Israeli military vowed to respond harshly to any further attacks.
Gaza’s Ramattan news agency reported three airstrikes at the Gaza-Israel border. Israel’s military said it struck tunnels used to smuggle weapons into Gaza at the territory’s southern border.
The actions from both sides — the bombing from Hamas and the air strikes from the IDF — mars the ten day old cease fire and complicates the mission of George Mitchell, President barack Obama’s designated Middle East envoy.
Mitchell is on a trip to the Middle East now.
Mitchell arrived Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt, where he thanked Egyptian leaders for helping to negotiate the truce.
“It is of critical importance that the cease-fire be extended and consolidated, and we support Egypt’s continuing efforts in that regard,” Mitchell said. “The United States is committed to vigorously pursuing lasting peace and stability in the region. The decision by President Obama to dispatch me to come to this region less that one week after his inauguration is a clear and tangible evidence of this commitment.”
George Mitchell, right, meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama on Monday.
Israel said Hamas was “prominent in the organization accountable for the attack.”
During his eight-day visit, Mitchell plans to meet with leaders in Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and Saudi Arabia before returning to the United States next Tuesday, according to the State Department.
John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
The Associated Press reported:
Khan Younis.responded swiftly, sending tanks and bulldozers into northern to plow up the attack site and launching an airstrike that wounded a Hamas militant “who was prominent in the organization accountable for the attack,” according to a military statement. Hamas said the Israeli strike injured one of its men as he rode a motorcycle in the southern Gaza town of
The border violence was the worst since the sides separately declared cease-fires on Jan. 18 to end a three-week Israeli offensive.
Since withdrawing its troops, Israel has threatened to retaliate hard for any violations of the informal truce.
One of its main targets is the network of tunnels used to smuggle arms, money and people into Gaza from Egypt but despite hundreds of strikes during the war smugglers resumed work after the cease-fire.