Two Soldiers Injured by Mortar Fire

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ESHKOL REGIONAL COUNCIL - Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were lightly injured by mortar shells that exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council in the western Negev Monday morning.

The soldiers had been involved in engineering work when the attack occurred.

IDF troops returned fire "at the source of the launches" in the Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson's Office reported.

"Terror organizations are constantly operating to harm soldiers and the citizens of the State of Israel. The IDF holds Hamas solely responsible for what happens in the Strip and for maintaining calm there," the spokesperson's statement read.

Both soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva.

The shells landed in the same area where two members of the Islamic Jihad terror group attempted to plant a roadside bomb along the security fence in southern Gaza on Monday evening.

An IDF Givati Brigade unit spotted the two planting the explosives and opened fire, killing one.

Palestinians returned fire, lightly wounding a tank commander with shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade.

The fatality was later identified as Basem Da'ma, a senior Islamic Jihad operative who had been involved in a firefight along the border last March in which two Israeli soldiers - Major Eliraz Peretz and Staff Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky - were killed.

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