An Israeli attack has killed two members of the Gaza Strip’s ruling Hamas movement after shots were fired at soldiers, officials in Gaza and Israel have said.
Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, on Tuesday identified the dead Palestinians as Ahmed Murjan and Abdel-Hafez al-Silawi, both 23 years old, and confirmed that they were members of the group.
Witnesses said the attack occurred in the town of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip.
An Israeli military statement, apparently referring to the same incident, said that the army returned fire after shots were fired at its soldiers from a Hamas post in the northern Gaza Strip, near the border with Israel.
Palestinian sources said it was a drone attack, while the Israeli statement said it was tank fire.
A video distributed by the Israeli army appeared to show a tank striking a military post in the Gaza Strip.
The military said it was prepared “to target any aggression against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for everything happening in and from the Gaza Strip”.
It added that no Israeli troops were injured in the exchange.
Hamas warned Israel that it would pay for the attack, without elaborating.
“The resistance cannot allow the occupation to impose a policy of bombing sites and targeting fighters without paying the price,” it said in a statement.
Leading Hamas member Mushir al-Masri described the attack as a “ceasefire violation” for which Israel would “suffer the consequences”.
Following a meeting with other resistance factions, al-Masri told reporters that the Palestinian resistance would “not allow Israel to breach the terms of the truce”.
Since Palestinians launched the Great March of Return protests at the end of March, at least 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.
One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.
The protests call for Palestinians to be able to return to the land they or their families fled or were expelled from in the 1948 war that established the state of Israel.
Israel said any such return would mean the end of it as a Jewish state.
Israeli forces have launched three military assaults on the Gaza Strip since 2008.
The United Nations and Egypt are currently trying to secure a deal between Israel and Hamas for a lasting truce.