Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot convened an urgent meeting of top security heads late Wednesday night to determine the next move in Gaza after an IDF officer was shot by a Hamas sniper — the second time such an attack has taken place in less than a month.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participated in the meeting via speaker phone, according to Galei Tzahal Army Radio. Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Nadav Argaman and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat also were present.
Seven Hamas positions were attacked repeatedly with Israeli tank fire and by Israel Air Force fighter pilots late Wednesday night, after a Hamas sniper shot an IDF officer as he tried to convince Arab children to move away from the security fence along the southern Gaza border.
The IDF said a group of about 20 young Gazans were “rioting” at the border fence, apparently acting as decoys for the sniper who waited for an IDF soldier to respond.
The IDF subsequently killed three terrorists, all of whom were members of the Izz a-Din al-Qassam military wing of Gaza’s ruling Hamas guerrilla organization.
Hamas later released a statement in response, saying, “The size of this Israeli escalation against Gaza and the deliberate targeting of resistance fighters reflects the occupation’s intentions to kill. The resistance will not give up on its duty to defend our people, protect it and respond to this aggression,” said Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum in the statement on his Twitter account.
Likewise, the allied Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization vowed in a statement carried by ‘Palestine Today,’ “The crime perpetrated today by the occupation will not pass without punishment.”