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IDF tank shells Hamas post after army vehicle gets shot

Troops working near security barrier come under fire; soldiers unharmed but military equipment damaged

Illustrative. An Israeli tank parks in position overlooking the Gaza Strip on December 25, 2013. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)
Illustrative. An Israeli tank parks in position overlooking the Gaza Strip on December 25, 2013. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)

Israeli troops working near the Gaza security fence came under fire on Sunday, in an attack that damaged a military engineering vehicle but caused no injuries, the army said.

In response, an army tank shelled a Hamas position in the southern Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said.

According to the IDF, the troops were doing routine work near the security fence with the southern Gaza Strip when shots were fired at them.

The shots struck a heavy engineering vehicle, likely a D9 bulldozer, but no soldiers were injured, the army said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the gunfire.

According to Hamas’s interior ministry, the shelled post, which was destroyed, was located in the town of al-Fukhari, east of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

There were no reports of Palestinians injured in the IDF’s retaliatory strike.

The military would not say whether the engineering vehicle that came under attack was located on the Israeli side of the security fence or if it was inside the buffer zone, an area beyond the fence over which Israel maintains control.

Hamas’s interior ministry said Israeli tanks and bulldozers had earlier crossed the border.

Israel regularly sends engineering vehicles into the buffer zone to ensure the area remains clear of barriers and booby traps.

Last month, an IDF tank shelled a Hamas position in the Strip after another case of troops coming under fire while carrying out routine maintenance near the border fence. Sources close to the Hamas-run interior ministry said the tanks targeted an observation tower near the Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.

According to Palestinian media reports quoted in Hebrew-language media, the tank fired three shells at the Hamas post. No casualties were reported on either side in the December exchange.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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