Israeli security Cabinet meets as Gaza border heats up, Palestinian killed in retaliatory strike

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s security Cabinet gathered Thursday evening for an emergency meeting on the escalation at the Gaza border as a Palestinian woman was reported killed by Israeli retaliatory strikes on Hamas targets.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly called for the security Cabinet meeting. The Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff, Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, was asked to attend, according to reports.

Israel Air Force planes in the afternoon attacked four Hamas military posts in the southern Gaza Strip, the IDF said in a statement. It was the second time in two days that Israel has retaliated for mortar attacks from Gaza.

The strikes came after Israeli troops working in southern Israel near the border with Gaza came under mortar fire from Gaza for three days.

Later Thursday, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported that a Palestinian woman in her 50s, identified as Jana Aytah al-Amur, was killed near Khan Yunis in one of the strikes. Another Palestinian woman, 21, was injured in a strike near Rafah, according to Maan.

Also Thursday, the IDF announced that last month it arrested a Hamas operative attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza. The IDF said the operative was deeply involved in the planning of the terror group’s tunnel network from the strip into southern Israel.

Mahmoud Atuna, 29, a member of Hamas’ military wing, also was involved in planting explosive devices targeting Israeli soldiers, according to the IDF. He admitted to planning to attack soldiers and Israeli civilians after crossing into Israel.

Atuna conveyed detailed information regarding tunnel trajectory in the northern Gaza Strip, Hamas’ construction methods, and how Hamas utilized private homes and public institutions to hide the tunnels, according to the IDF. He also pinpointed several digging locations, as well as tunnel shafts, intended to be used by Hamas operatives to carry out attacks in Israel.

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