JERUSALEM, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — An Israeli soldier was killed on Tuesday morning in a blast at the border with the Gaza Strip, triggering the first notable outbreak of violence since a fragile ceasefire went into effect nine days ago.
Three other soldiers were wounded, one in serious conditions, when an explosive device went off near an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) patrol near the Kissufim border crossing, a gateway into the middle part of the Hamas-ruled enclave, said the IDF.
It is still not clear whether the bomb, which caused the first death on the Israeli side since the Jewish state wrapped up its three-week punishing onslaught in Gaza with a unilateral ceasefire on Jan. 18, was planted before or after the truce was staged.
No Palestinian militant group claimed responsibility for the incident. Gazan militants have generally observed their own ceasefire, which was introduced on the same day with the Israeli one.
Should it is proved that the attack, which Defense Minister Ehud Barak called “a serious incident that cannot be accepted,” was a breach of the ceasefire, Israel would consider a severe response, local news service Ynet quoted senior officials as saying.
“I am not interested in who did it. Israel needs to respond. This test is one of action and not just of words,” Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was quoted as saying.
Israel pulled all of its troops out of Gaza on Jan. 21, and redeployed them along the Gaza border. Israeli officials have repeatedly said the army would resume military operations in Gaza if necessary.
Palestinian sources said following the fatal blast, IDF troops clashed with Gazan militants, and a Gazan farmer was killed in an Israeli shelling.
Israel also closed all the commercial crossings along the Israel-Gaza border, the main route ways for the humanitarian supplies to enter the coastal area, which has just been devastated by the Israeli operation, said Palestinian officials.