Hamas gunmen reportedly open fire on Israeli troops in Gaza, no injuries
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Hamas gunmen reportedly open fire on Israeli troops in Gaza, no injuries

Palestinian media says some 20 IDF soldiers tried to enter Strip near Khan Younis, but forced to retreat; no confirmation from Israel

Palestinians stand next to the remains of a car allegedly used by Israeli special forces during an operation in Gaza, which was was later destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 12, 2018. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Palestinians stand next to the remains of a car allegedly used by Israeli special forces during an operation in Gaza, which was was later destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 12, 2018. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Palestinian media reported that a force belonging to the Hamas military wing opened fire on a group of Israeli soldiers near the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis early Monday, forcing them to retreat.

The reports said there were no injuries or casualties on either side.

According to Gazan media, the Israeli force of some 20 soldiers entered the Strip and moved some 100 meters inside before Hamas gunmen opened fire with small arms.

There was no immediate confirmation or comment from the Israel Defense Forces.

Israeli troops often conduct routine operations around the Gaza security fence, though missions deep inside the Strip are less common.

The reports came as Israel and Hamas, the terror group that rules the Strip and seeks to destroy the Jewish state, are trying to balance a fragile calm along the border amidst sporadic flareups of violence.

Hamas has sometimes opened fire on Israeli engineering forces laying barbed wire on the Gaza side of the border.

In November, an Israeli special forces soldier was killed and another seriously wounded when their operation went awry inside Gaza. The IDF said at least 16 Palestinians were killed in the clashes and subsequent extraction of the Israelis.

That operation, details of which the Israeli military has kept largely under gag order, turned deadly when the undercover soldiers were spotted near Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip. The incident prompted Hamas to vow revenge and led to one of the deadliest escalations between the two sides since the 2014 war.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in a violent coup against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction in 2007, two years after Israel evicted 7,000 settlers and dismantled the settlements there, withdrew the army, and pulled back to the pre-1967 lines.

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