Shots fired from Gaza at IDF troops, army returns fire at Hamas post
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Shots fired from Gaza at IDF troops, army returns fire at Hamas post

None hurt on Israeli side; three of the terror group’s fighters reported wounded in return shelling

Israeli soldiers stand guard with their tank along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip near the southern Israeli kibbutz of Nahal Oz on May 4, 2016. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)
Israeli soldiers stand guard with their tank along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip near the southern Israeli kibbutz of Nahal Oz on May 4, 2016. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

Shots were fired from northern Gaza at IDF forces across the border, the army said early Sunday. No one was hurt on the Israeli side.

IDF troops found one of the bullets near their position.

Three Hamas fighters were reported wounded after the IDF responded with a volley of shells targeting a Hamas post, according to initial Palestinian reports.

Tensions along the border flared on August 22 after a rocket from the coastal territory landed in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, leading to an IDF retaliation against as many as 50 installations which the army termed “key Hamas strategic assets” using tanks and aircraft.

Hamas quickly claimed the response was an attempt by Israel to change the status quo in Gaza — and Israel agreed.

“You can’t expect the State of Israel to allow [Hamas] to rearm itself, to steal money from the residents of Gaza. They are levying taxes and not constructing buildings, but tunnels,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said the following day at an army base in the Galilee.

Palestinian security sources in Gaza said several targets in the northern Strip were struck by Israeli fire, and that a reservoir in Beit Hanoun was damaged. Israel also hit a base belonging to Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in nearby Beit Lahiya, witnesses said. Palestinian health and security sources said between two and five people were lightly wounded by Israel’s retaliatory fire.

Hamas officials have decried the Israeli bombardment, but have not indicated that they intend to respond immediately.

An Israeli police sapper carries part of a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip from the yard of a house in the city of Sderot, southern Israel, Sunday, August 21, 2016. AP /Tsafrir Abayov.
An Israeli police sapper carries part of a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip from the yard of a house in the city of Sderot, southern Israel, Sunday, August 21, 2016. AP /Tsafrir Abayov.

Two days after that exchange, Israeli naval forces patrolling off the coast of the Strip were fired upon from the shore after shooting a Palestinian suspect during an arrest at sea.

No injuries were reported among Israeli forces.

The military said the incident occurred when navy forces identified a Palestinian boat deviating from permitted fishing zones off northern Gaza.

“IDF forces called the vessel to halt, firing warning shots into the air,” an army spokeswoman said. “Upon the continued advance [of the vessel], forces fired toward the area of the vessel to stop their advance, wounding a suspect.”

The suspect was arrested and taken to Ashdod port to receive medical care and to be questioned, while his boat was allowed to return to Gaza.

Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza since 2007 for fear of arms smuggling by Hamas. It bans fishing beyond nine nautical miles (16 kilometers) off the coast. Boats exceeding that limit are at risk of being considered suspicious, and may be fired upon as possible arms-smuggling vessels.

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