This is the 4th time in the past 2 days that Palestinians in Gaza opened fire at IDF soldiers searching for Hamas terror-tunnels on Israel’s border.
By Yoav Zitun, Elior Levy, Matan Tzuri
IDF troops shelled Hamas military posts in the Gaza Strip for three times on Wednesday in response to mortar shell fire at forces operating near the border fence. There have been four incidents of fire opened on Israel8i troops on the frontier over the past two days. There were no Israeli soldiers hurt in any of the incidents.
On Monday morning, Palestinians fired a mortar shell at IDF soldiers doing engineering work near the border fence, leading the army to respond with tank fire at a Hamas observation point near a landfill in southern Gaza, not far from the Sufa Crossing. The Palestinians reported damage to the Hamas military post, but no casualties.
This was the first time a mortar shell is fired at an IDF force since Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. During the past year and a half, there were several instances of gunfire and explosives targeting the troops, but this is the first rocket to fall near an Israeli force.
In a second incident early Wednesday afternoon, IDF soldiers operating by the Gaza border fence near Saja’iyya reported hearing an explosion. The military is checking whether a mortar shell was once again launched at them.
According to Palestinian reports, the IDF once again responded by shelling two observation posts that belongs to the Hamas military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, located east of Saja’iyya.
In the third incident within five hours on Wednesday, an IDF force once again heard an explosion, and once more responded with tank fire at Hamas military targets in Saja’iyya.
The incidents occurred a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in the area for a tour of the Gaza border. During his visit, he examined the recently-discovered Hamas tunnel that burrowed her way into Israeli territory, and received a briefing from the GOC Southern Command and the Gaza Division commander on the situation in the area.
Also on Tuesday, a Palestinian sniper opened fire from Saja’iyya at an IDF engineering force operating near the border fence.
The recent incidents have been perpetrated by rebellious Salafist groups trying to escalate the situation between Hamas and the IDF, as the Israeli military is conducting engineering work near the border fence in search for new border-crossing tunnels.
In recent days, the Hamas stopped a militant cell that was reportedly planning to carry out attacks against Israeli targets. The Hamas Interior Ministry’s announcement said the cell foiled sought to harm the security and stability in the Gaza Strip, but fell short of detailing which organization the cell belongs to and what exactly were its plans.
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