Islamic Jihad attacks Gaza crossing as calm talks fail
An Islamic Jihad suicide bomber detonated a truckload of explosives near a crossing between Gaza Strip and Israel early Thursday, a spokesman for the Palestinian movement said, causing no casualties.
An Islamic Jihad spokesman calling himself Abu Ahmad said a 23-year-old activist drove a pickup truck loaded with four tons of explosives toward the Erez crossing in northern Gaza Strip. He described the attack as a "successful martyrdom operation."
According to the AP, the blast damaged the crossing, but the Israeli military said no soldiers were wounded.
Shortly after the explosion, an Israeli helicopter fired a missile at a nearby jeep of a type that often serves Palestinian activists and the security forces of Hamas, a Hamas security official said. There were no casualties in the missile strike, he said.
The attack on Erez came as a Hamas delegation returned to Gaza from Egypt after holding cease-fire talks. Hamas officials said Thursday that the round of talks failed, and blamed Israel for not accepting the proposal for a six-month calm.
Abu Ahmad, the Islamic Jihad spokesman, said Thursday's bombing was meant to "send a message" to Israel that if it didn't accept a truce "Gaza is not going to be a place where you will enjoy stability."
A 62-year-old Palestinian civilian was shot and killed in a separate incident in central Gaza on Thursday morning, according to Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of the Gaza Health Ministry. Islamic Jihad said there was fighting with Israeli forces in the area.