Israel kills three Palestinians near Gaza Strip crossing; Abbas condemns abduction of Egyptian diplomat
Two Palestinian fighters were killed by Israeli fire early Thursday in the Gaza Strip. The two men attacked the Erez crossing, throwing hand grenades and firing on Israeli occupation soldiers. According to Israel Radio, there were no casualties on the Israeli side.
The Popular Resistance Committees and Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed joint responsibility for the attack in a call to The Associated Press. However, other reports said the Islamic Jihad was behind this attack.
"This was a joint attack by gunmen who penetrated the Erez crossing and opened fire on the soldiers who were unaware of their presence, causing casualties among the soldiers," said a spokesman for the Palestinian attackers, who refused to be named.
Following the attack, Israeli sources claimed the Palestinian Authority security forces knew in advance that there were plans to attack at the Erez crossing, Haaretz reported. The Erez checkpoint is the main crossing for Palestinian who wish to enter Israel.
Later in the day, Palestinian sources claimed that one man was killed and several others were injured by an Israeli tank fire near the Erez crossing. According to the Palestinians, these Palestinians were innocent civilians who sold sweets on a donkey.
Also Thursday, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas strongly condemned the abduction of an Egyptian diplomat in Gaza City. In a statement issued by the Presidency, and cited by WAFA, Abbas said that he ordered Palestinian security forces to exert every effort to capture those responsible of kidnapping the diplomat Hussam al-Mously, affirming that he will not permit anyone to affect the Palestinian-Egyptian ties.
Earlier, Palestinian gunmen stopped the Egyptian diplomat while he was driving to office and dragged him into an unknown place.