JERUSALEM (JTA) — At least six Palestinians were killed during an exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Hamas fighters in Gaza.
One of the dead Palestinians was identified as Nur Barake, a deputy commander of an elite unit of Iz al-Din al-Qassam, the military wing of Hamas. A second Hamas commander was said killed as well.
Israeli drones bombed Hamas targets near Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Sunday evening. Soldiers on the ground in Gaza also got in a firefight with Hamas forces, the public broadcaster Kan reported.
The IDF in a brief statement said of the Sunday night incident that “an exchange of fire broke out during security activities by the IDF in the Gaza Strip region,”
The IDF in a statement following the incident asserted in response to rumors that “no forces were abducted in the security incident.”
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called the Israeli attack “cowardly,” Kan reported, saying on Sunday night that Hamas “welcome(s) the courageous resistance that repulsed the cowardly Israeli attack; This is heroic and courageous, and emphasizes the alertness of the force on the ground.”
Following the exchange of fire several Code Red missile warning sirens were sounded in southern Israel. At least one rocket fell in an open area near Gaza border communities in southern Israel, and local residents reported sounds of explosions in the area. Residents of southern Israel on Sunday were instructed to remain close to their safe rooms or bomb shelters out of fear of attacks from Gaza in response to the incident.