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Hamas Claims Responsibility for a Rocket Attack Near Kerem Shalom

WorldHamas Claims Responsibility for a Rocket Attack Near Kerem Shalom

Hamas said on Sunday that its armed wing had fired rockets at Israeli forces near the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Gaza and Israel, in an attack that the Israeli military said killed three soldiers and left three more soldiers critically wounded.

About 14 rockets and mortars were fired from an area near the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt toward Kerem Shalom, an Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said at a news briefing on Sunday night. One home in the kibbutz was struck.

There was no indication that the Kerem Shalom crossing itself, one of the few crossings through which humanitarian aid is able to enter the Gaza Strip, was the target of the attack, and there was no indication that other crossings were under immediate threat, Colonel Lerner said. Still, after the attack on Sunday, the army said the Kerem Shalom crossing was closed to the passage of aid trucks.

In response, Colonel Lerner said, Israeli military planes destroyed the launcher that had fired the projectiles and targeted other “Hamas military infrastructure.”

The Israeli military was anticipating the possibility of rocket attacks because of its “preparations on the ground” near the southern border, and the soldiers were guarding heavy tanks and bulldozers positioned in the area, Colonel Lerner said.

The military had “pre-positioned protective elements” for the soldiers to take cover and will conduct an internal investigation into the circumstances of their deaths and injuries, including whether they took cover as expected after sirens sounded, he added.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry condemned the attack and said it showed that Hamas was not interested in having aid enter the territory, parts of which a United Nations official says are experiencing “a full-blown famine.”

The ministry said that while the army was “facilitating humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, terrorists fire rockets into the same area.”

“Israel remains committed to providing lifesaving aid while Hamas remains committed to destroying lives,” it added.

After the attack, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s national security minister and a far-right member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, urged Mr. Netanyahu to authorize a long-anticipated military assault on Rafah.

“We did not attack Gaza and we got Oct. 7,” Mr. Ben-Gvir said in a statement posted online. “We didn’t attack Rafah and we got a precision attack, Netanyahu, go to Rafah now!”


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