Gaza Strip: Three Hamas men killed as Israel vows to defend borders
Three members of Hamas were killed in two Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, Hamas officials said. According to them, two members of the Al-Qassam Brigades were killed overnigt Sunday in the first raid to the east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, while the third died during a raid in Gaza City.
The Israeli army confirmed the attacks, saying they targeted armed men, and "in both cases they were hit".
Meanwhile, Israel's border police forces Monday were on standby while the army has boosted security and surveillance at the Gaza Strip frontier ahead of the human chain protest planned by Palestinians.
Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister, and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, said Israel will defend its territory and "stop any infiltration attempt into its sovereign borders." "Hamas is behind activities that place the civilian population on the front lines," they said in a joint statement.
"Israel is acting to prevent an escalation but makes it clear that if it does happen the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of Hamas."
According to AFP, an Israeli security source said the army was preparing for "all scenarios", and Israeli television has reported artillery reinforcements along the frontier. "Obviously, if gunmen start shooting at the fence we will have to respond in kind and we are absolutely unwilling to countenance a situation where the fence is breached like it was at Rafah," the source said.