Hamas said its fighters fired on Israeli soldiers who crossed into the Gaza Strip on Friday during a clash which Palestinian witnesses said inflicted at least one military casualty.
"An Israeli army force raided 500 metres (yards) into Palestinian territory, and was confronted by our gunmen," said Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Hamas armed wing. "This was our work, but was carried out for defence."
Two other groups, Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, said their men also took part in the fighting.
According to Reutrs, witnesses said Friday's exchange of fire started when an explosion, possibly caused by a anti-armour rocket fired from the nearby Palestinian town of Khan Younis, hit an Israeli army patrol on the central Gazan border. Backed by tanks, the troops fired back at their assailants and entered the Palestinian territory, the witnesses said.
The witnesses said that, during the fighting, soldiers stretchered away a wounded comrade and helicopters came to the scene. Two Palestinians, one a 10-year-old boy, were also wounded, Gaza hospital officials said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed two Israeli troops killed in this incident.
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