Israel Targets Terrorists on Israel-Egypt Border

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The Israel Air Force targeted terrorists in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, who the army said were planning an attack on Israeli soldiers and civilians along the southern border with Egypt.

Palestinians reported that two people were killed and others injured in the air strike, which targeted a vehicle in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli security forces have been on high alert since last week against the possibility of a terror attack in southern Israel.

Palestinians can cross freely from the Gaza Strip into the Egyptian Sinai Desert. The nearby Israeli-Egyptian border is still nearly a 145-mile-long expanse of unfenced desert, though Israel has begun building a barrier there.

Eight Israelis were killed this past August when Palestinian and Egyptian terrorists crossed from Gaza into the Egyptian Sinai and back into Israel.

The Israeli army identified one of the terrorists killed on Thursday as Isam Subahi Isamil Batash and said he was a senior operative in the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. Although Hamas now rules in the Gaza Strip, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades is associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction.

The army said in a statement that Batah has been involved in numerous attacks from the Gaza Strip by Palestinians who infiltrated Israel via the Egyptian Sinai Desert. One of those attacks was the January 2007 suicide bombing in the Red Sea coastal city of Eilat that killed three Israeli civilians.

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