IDF hits Gaza Hamas post after border rioting that included gunfire at troops

Military responds with riot dispersal measures and live fire as dozens hold violent protest, launch incendiary balloons

Masked Gazans prepare to launch fire-sparking balloons toward Israel in the Gaza Strip, September 23, 2023 (Palestinian social media)
Masked Gazans prepare to launch fire-sparking balloons toward Israel in the Gaza Strip, September 23, 2023 (Palestinian social media)

The military carried out an airstrike on a Hamas position in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, following the latest riots along the border which included gunfire toward army forces.

The Israel Defense Forces said a drone struck the post, located near the day’s riots.

Dozens of Palestinians rioted along the border with Israel earlier, in the latest violent rally near the barrier in what has become a daily occurrence.

Rioters burned tires and hurled makeshift bombs, and gunmen fired toward Israeli forces along the border.

Footage showed terror operatives flying balloons carrying incendiary devices toward the border, though there was no information of balloons sparking fires within Israel.

The military said it responded with riot dispersal measures and live fire in some instances.

Friday saw the IDF carry out strikes in Gaza after balloon-borne incendiary devices flown over the border sparked three fires in southern Israel, as tensions in the region heated up.

Palestinians have been holding near-daily riots on the Gaza border in recent weeks.

The IDF said it had carried out drone strikes against two observation posts belonging to the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip in response to the incendiary balloons and rioting. The military said the incendiary balloons were launched from the area of the two posts.

A third Hamas post was shelled by a tank after a Palestinian gunman opened fire at troops on the border amid the rioting, the IDF added. That post was located near where the gunman opened fire, the military said.

Footage from the rioting showed a gunman opening fire and an explosive device being detonated on the border, causing damage to the fence.

The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip reported that 26 were wounded by Israeli fire amid Friday’s rioting.

During the riots in recent weeks, Palestinians have been detonating explosive devices, setting tires on fire, trying to breach the security barrier and opening fire at troops in a handful of cases.

On Thursday, a Palestinian gunman who opened fire at Israeli forces during rioting on the border was shot and seriously wounded by a Border Police sniper.

Israel has kept shut its sole pedestrian crossing with the Gaza Strip since September 15 in response to rioting on the border.

The closure of Erez Crossing affects 17,000 Gazans who have permits to enter Israel for work. The Strip’s economy is harmed by the laborers being barred entry to Israel.

The rioting in recent weeks has left at least seven Palestinians dead, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip. Six of them were killed while mishandling a makeshift bomb that was supposed to be planted on the border, while the seventh was shot by Israeli soldiers.

No IDF soldiers have been wounded in the recent riots so far.

The riots, according to military assessments, come as Hamas seeks to resolve a dispute it has with Qatar over monthly funding the Gulf nation provides to the Palestinian enclave.

Hamas has reportedly asked Qatar to increase the monthly sum to adjust for inflation, but Doha so far has not agreed to the demand. The terror group apparently launched the riots on the Gaza border to pressure Israel, which would in turn pressure Qatar to solve the issue.

Gaza has been blockaded by both Israel and Egypt for over 15 years in an attempt to contain the enclave’s Hamas rulers. Israel says the tight restrictions on goods and people are necessary due to the terror group’s efforts to massively arm itself for attacks against the Jewish state.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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