Israel Strikes Islamic Jihad Cell After It Opened Fire on Soldiers, Army Says

Israeli army struck Islamic Jihad snipers who fired on Israeli troops, the military said Wednesday.

"A short time ago IDF troops identified an Islamic Jihad sniper cell that had shot from the area of Khan Yunis toward our forces on the Israeli side of the border," the army spokesperson said in a statement. "In response, IDF forces attacked the sniper cell to neutralize the threat," the army said. A police statement added that the Border Police's special counter-terrorism unit was also involved in locating and shooting at the cell. 

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No Israeli casualties were reported.

On Tuesday, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said that Israel had decided to increase the cap for permits given to workers and merchants in Gaza to 7,000, the highest level since Hamas' rule began in 2007. 

The govermnet said that the fishing zone off Gaza's coast would be expanded to 15 miles and 2,000 additional exit permits would be given to merchants in the enclave in light of "the relative calm in recent days."

Steps easing restrictions on Gazans were announced last week after Hamas informed Israel that it planned to unilaterally halt the launching of explosive-laden balloons and rockets at Israel amid talks of a long-term truce, but they were not implemented because of rocket fire from Gaza over the weekend.

While the permits are for merchants who are supposed to show proof that they have worked as traders, authorities have approved a large number of them to work in agriculture in border communities.