Gunshots were fired at Israeli military bulldozers operating on the southern Gaza border in two separate attacks on Wednesday afternoon, the Israel Defense Forces said.
No Israeli troops were injured. At least one vehicle was lightly damaged, the military said.
In response to the two attacks, Israeli tanks shelled empty Hamas positions near the border. Palestinian media published photos of the demolished posts, which were principally constructed of tin sheets.
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) January 13, 2021
Residents of southern Israel, as well as Palestinian media outlets, reported that Israeli fighter jets were heard overhead following the second exchange.
The first shooting attack was reported shortly after noon Wednesday. Just over an hour later, the military said a second round of shots were fired at another engineering vehicle on the border.
Photographs of the bulldozer that was hit in the first shooting, which were quickly shared on social media, showed damage caused to the vehicle’s bulletproof windshields.
صور| آثار استهداف جرافات الاحتلال بإطلاق نار خلال توغلها شرق خانيونس جنوب قطاع غزة ، قبل قليل. pic.twitter.com/DEWLwiJOeq
— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) January 13, 2021
Following the first attack, an IDF tank destroyed one Hamas observation post along the border, the military said. Two more were targeted following the second attack, according to the IDF.
The military said it was not immediately clear if a bulldozer was hit in the second attack.
The IDF said the vehicles had been working near the border when the gunshots were heard.
The bulldozers had been clearing land in the buffer zone between Israel and the Gaza Strip, which lies on the Gaza side of the border, near the city of Khan Younis.
Palestinian media reported that the Israeli military on Wednesday had also dropped fliers in Arabic, warning Gazan farmers to keep their crops away from the fence.
Wednesday’s attack came amid a relative lull in violence from the Gaza Strip. The day before, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk announced that Qatar had agreed to continue providing humanitarian aid to the enclave for another year.