Soldier killed by Palestinian gunman, Israeli military says

Smoke billows from the Gaza Strip as an Israeli army tank monitors the area on the southern Israel-Gaza border Friday.

Story highlights

  • The body of the purported gunman is delivered back to Gaza, security forces there say
  • The Israeli military provides the name of the Israeli soldier killed by the militant
  • Four Palestinians are injured in an Israeli air strike, Gaza security sources say
  • Two rockets fired out of Gaza hit a target in southern Israel, the Israeli military says
An Israeli soldier was killed early Friday in an exchange of fire with a Palestinian militant near the southern Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said.
The Palestinian gunman "was identified infiltrating Israel" and was shot dead after he fired on Israeli soldiers, a military spokesman said in a statement.
The Israel Defense Forces said Staff Sgt. Netanel Moshiashvili was killed.
The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad initially claimed responsibility for the attack and identified the gunman as Ahmed abu Nasser. He was on a mission to hunt and capture an Israeli soldier, according to a statement released by the group.
Group officials told CNN the gunman had managed to enter an Israeli military base and overcome an Israeli soldier before he was taken down by other forces.
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Shortly after making that statement, the group's spokesman called CNN back and retracted it, saying the group now denies responsibility.
The body of Ahmed abu Nasser was delivered by the Israeli authorities back to Gaza on Friday afternoon, security forces in Gaza said.
Meanwhile, four Palestinian members of the Popular Resistance Committee, a militant group, were critically injured as a result of an Israeli air force strike after launching rockets at Israeli territory, security forces in Gaza told CNN.
The IDF confirmed that two rockets fired out of Gaza hit the Eshkol regional council in the south of Israel.
The IDF "will continue to operate against anyone who uses terror against the residents of the state of Israel," it said in a written statement. "The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip."
The latest violence comes a day after the Israeli government, in what has been described as a humanitarian gesture, handed over the remains of 91 Palestinians killed in attacks against Israeli targets over the past four decades.
The remains of 79 Palestinians were delivered to the seat of the Palestinian government in Ramallah, West Bank, where Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas presided over an official military ceremony.
Twelve bodies were to be delivered to families in Gaza.
Israel imposed an economic blockade of Gaza when the militant group Hamas took charge in 2007. It says the blockade is needed to stop the transit of weaponry to be used by militants in attacks on Israel.