Israeli forces and Gaza militants exchange fire

Associated Press Modified: October 8, 2012 at 9:19 am •  Published: October 8, 2012

Hamas has not confirmed the identity of the two men targeted Sunday. The Israeli military said the two were members of an al-Qaida-inspired group identified as having been involved in rocket attacks and an infiltration from Egypt.

Hamas' spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group on Monday fired rockets back to show Israel that it could not operate freely in Gaza. "We have the right to defend ourselves," Zuhri said.

Israel and Hamas have held to a shaky, unspoken truce over the past two years but the latest exchange was the worst barrage from Gaza since June, according to the Israeli spokeswoman.

The exchange also comes in the wake of Israel downing a foreign drone over its territory on Saturday. Israeli officials would not say where the drone came from, although suspicion fell on the Lebanese group Hezbollah, a Hamas ally. On Sunday, Israeli aircrafts swooped over Lebanon, setting of sonic booms that rattled villages in the pro-Hezbollah south.

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