Gaza, Oct. 24 (Reuters): Gunmen killed three Israeli soldiers, two of them women, at a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip today in a joint shooting and grenade attack by the two main Palestinian Islamic militant groups.
The combined assault by Islamic Jihad and Hamas followed an agreement by their leaders at talks in Syria this week to increase coordination of attacks against Israelis in the three-year-old Palestinian uprising for statehood.
The Israeli army said at least one militant infiltrated the heavily guarded Netzarim settlement before dawn and opened fire before soldiers shot him dead. Two of the Israeli dead were women and two other soldiers were wounded, one seriously, it said.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad said two gunmen entered the settlement throwing grenades and then fired shots in a “heroic operation”.
The Jihad member escaped, it said, and the army said efforts to find the second attacker were hampered by fog.
The attack was a further blow to the stalled US-backed peace “road map” after Israel killed 12 Palestinians, including militants and civilians, in air raids on Monday and Palestinian gunmen killed three Israeli soldiers in an ambush on Sunday.