Retaliatory strike? Israel kills four Palestinians after border clash (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

The Israeli Air Force has killed four Palestinians in Gaza, who they allege were Islamic Jihad militants. This follows a skirmish between Israeli forces and militants from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

­Two Palestinians were killed while riding their motorcycle near the town of Beit Hanoun, according to Palestinian medical officials. The Israeli Defense Force claims the men were members of a terror cell responsible for recent shooting attacks along the border.

In a later strike, the Israeli military killed two more Palestinians in northern Gaza. Israeli authorities say the men were preparing a rocket strike in Israel and were also members of Islamic Jihad. Palestinian sources also say seven people were wounded by the strikes. 

The Israeli military also said that a third strike against an alleged terror cell that was in the process of planting an explosive device on the country’s border with central Gaza was conducted, the Jerusalem Post reports. No casualties have been reported, though the Israeli Air Force confirmed that its third strike scored a direct hit on the target.

The strikes follow a clash between the Israeli military and three militants who attacked Israeli workers on the country’s border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing one of them. The Israeli military then rushed to the scene and killed two of the militants, though the third one reportedly escaped.

The latest strike followed reports of missile attacks on the Israeli town of Sderot, as well as on the Ashkelon area.

Israel has been increasingly concerned with Egypt’s ability to maintain control and ensure security in the Sinai Peninsula, especially since the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak and the ensuing internal turmoil.

We can see a disturbing deterioration in Egypt's control of Sinai's security,” noted Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, as quoted by Reuters.

The latest infiltration was also allegedly sparked by the Muslim Brotherhood’s declared victory in the presidential elections.

Israel is currently constructing a fence stretching from Gaza to the city of Eilat in the south of the country to halt a massive influx of immigrants from Africa and to ensure security.

Palestinians survey a destroyed metal workshop after an Israeli air strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip June 18, 2012. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Palestinians survey a destroyed metal workshop after an Israeli air strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip June 18, 2012. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Relatives of Palestinian militant Mohamed Shabat mourn during his funeral in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on June 18, 2012. Shabat was one of two Palestinians killed in an Israeli strike on north Gaza in the morning (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)
Relatives of Palestinian militant Mohamed Shabat mourn during his funeral in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on June 18, 2012. Shabat was one of two Palestinians killed in an Israeli strike on north Gaza in the morning (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)
An elderly Palestinian man sits amongst the destruction at a metal workshop on June 18, 2012 after overnight Israeli air strikes hit Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)
An elderly Palestinian man sits amongst the destruction at a metal workshop on June 18, 2012 after overnight Israeli air strikes hit Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)
Islamic Jihad militants carry the body of their comrade Mohammed Shbat during his funeral in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip June 18, 2012. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)
Islamic Jihad militants carry the body of their comrade Mohammed Shbat during his funeral in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip June 18, 2012. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)
Palestinian youths help to clear the rubble at a metal workshop on June 18, 2012 after overnight Israeli air strikes hit Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)
Palestinian youths help to clear the rubble at a metal workshop on June 18, 2012 after overnight Israeli air strikes hit Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)