Israeli fighter pilots eliminated three terrorists who were plotting to kidnap Israelis vacationing in Israel and in Egypt at Red Sea resorts during the upcoming Passover holiday.
The air strike targeted the operatives as they were driving in a car near Deir Al Balah in central Gaza early Saturday.
All three were members of the ruling Hamas terrorist organization.
Hamas officials confirmed the attack and the deaths, vowing revenge. Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called the strike “a crime and a systematic continuation of murder, criminality and state terrorism.”
He also warned of retaliation: “The Israeli government shoulders the responsibility for the consequences,” he told reporters at a funeral for the terrorists.
A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees terrorist group, which is loyal to Hamas, also vowed to retaliate.
“We are free from the decision of not escalating with Israel,” said Abu Mujahed. “Our response will be at the same level of the crime.”
Although Hamas allegedly persuaded several terrorist groups to cooperate with an unofficial “ceasefire” with Israel a week ago, missile and mortar attacks against Jewish communities in the western Negev unabated.
Israel responded to those attacks, killing three Islamic Jihad terrorists who were engaged in firing rockets at civilians living in the south.