World Bulletin/News Desk
Palestinian resistance group Hamas denounced what it described as a "grave escalation" by Israel after the latter struck the Gaza Strip by air and artillery following a reported attack an army border patrol.
"Israel bears full responsibility for the current tension in the Gaza Strip," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement issued shortly after the group's armed wing, the Ezzedin al-Qassam Brigades, had announced that one of its fighters had been killed by Israeli artillery.
Abu Zuhri accused the Israeli army of "trying to infiltrate Gaza's borders and fire on citizens," which, he said, had "prompted Hamas to respond."
The Israeli army has confirmed that it targeted areas of the blockaded Gaza Strip with airstrikes and artillery fire, saying the strikes were in response to a sniper attack earlier Wednesday on an army patrol on the Gaza border.
"Following sniper attack, IDF [Israeli army] air and ground forces responded immediately towards the imminent threat," Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner tweeted.
Lerner had said earlier Wednesday that an Israeli patrol had come under "sniper fire" from the Gaza Strip, denouncing the incident as "an outrageous act of aggression."
He did not say, however, whether the shooting had left any causalities among Israeli troops.
In an earlier statement, the Brigades had announced that Tayseer al-Sameeri had been killed in the town of Al-Qararah east of Khan Younis.
Medical sources told The Anadolu Agency that al-Sameeri had been killed by Israeli artillery that had targeted farmland in the area.
The Israeli army said the artillery fire had been in response to an attack on army personnel patrolling the border.
Palestinian resistance factions signed a cease-fire deal with Israel on August 26, ending a devastating, 51-day Israeli military onslaught on the Gaza Strip in July and August.
The Israeli offensive left more than 2,160 Palestinians dead – the vast majority of them civilians – and some 11,000 injured.
At least 73 Israelis – 68 soldiers and five civilians – were also killed during this summer's conflict.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Aralık 2014, 14:47