The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said no Israeli soldiers were injured after being targeted by sniper gunfire, and no immediate reports of casualties following the tank’s response on the Hamas ruled enclave.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Tuesday that one of its tanks attacked a Hamas observation post in the northern Gaza Strip after Israeli soldiers were targeted by gunfire near the volatile security fence.
The IDF said that no Israeli soldiers were injured in the shooting incident, and there were no immediate reports of casualties following the artillery strike in the Palestinian enclave.
The Israeli army did not indicate who it believed fired the shots, but as a policy holds Hamas responsible for all acts of aggression emanating from the Gaza Strip.
Ongoing protests along the volatile Gaza border have been relatively subdued over the past few weeks as the Islamist rulers of the impoverished enclave, anticipate the transfer of a third installment of Qatari funding designated for Hamas salary payments in coordination with Israel.
Israeli authorities had earlier issued an ultimatum to Hamas that the much needed Qatari aid package would continue to be withheld should the security situation on the border deteriorate.
Since the Hamas-orchestrated “Great March of Return” protests began on March 30, 2018 a total of 254 Gazans have been killed, according to a report published Monday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
Most of the casualties have been killed by Israeli fire during border clashes, but also by air and tank strikes amid hostilities between the sides. At least 50 of the casualties have been identified as members of Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist organization.
During the same period, two Israelis have been killed in the context of Gaza hostilities while another 52 suffered injuries, the UNOCHA report said.
One Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper during border demonstrations while another died in a botched special forces operation inside the blockaded enclave.
While Israel’s live-fire policy has stirred controversy, the military has said a large number of protesters killed or injured during clashes are armed with the intention of harming Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Israel insists that the border protests, which have seen tens of thousands of Gazans amass at various flash points on the fence, are not peaceful civilian demonstrations but “part of the armed conflict between the state of Israel and the Hamas terror organization.”
The army has accused Hamas, with which Israel has fought three wars since 2008, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out attacks.
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