Hamas said to open investigation into shooting of IDF officer by Gaza sniper
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Hamas said to open investigation into shooting of IDF officer by Gaza sniper

Terror group reportedly delivers a message to Israel through third parties that it considers Tuesday’s incident ‘unacceptable’

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

The helmet of an IDF officer that was hit by a sniper bullet during a riot along the Gaza border on January 22, 2019. (Courtesy)
The helmet of an IDF officer that was hit by a sniper bullet during a riot along the Gaza border on January 22, 2019. (Courtesy)

Hamas authorities have opened an investigation into the shooting by a Gaza sniper of an IDF officer on Tuesday near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the Kan public broadcaster reported, citing sources in the terror group.

On Tuesday, a Palestinian sniper opened fire at a group of IDF soldiers, hitting the helmet of an officer and lightly injuring him, the army said. The helmet saved the soldier’s life, according to military sources.

The Hamas sources told Kan the goal of the investigation was to determine who had shot at the Israeli army officer.

The IDF has said an initial investigation into the shooting showed that the Palestinian sniper opened fire on the soldier during “a riot that included rock-hurling.”

The army added that in response to the incident, it struck an observation post belonging to Hamas in eastern Gaza, near the Bureij refugee camp. Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said one of its members was killed in the strike.

Two Hamas officials did not respond to phone calls on Wednesday.

Hamas has also delivered a message to Israel through third parties that it considers the shooting “unacceptable,” and in opposition to “the general interest,” the sources told the Israeli channel, adding that their group does not fully control the coastal enclave.

Palestinians take cover behind a dirt mound as they raise their national flag, during a demonstration along the Israeli fence east of Gaza City, on January 18, 2019. (Said KHATIB / AFP)

Hamas has been the sovereign of Gaza since 2007, when it ousted the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority. However, officials in the terrorist organization have said some groups in the coastal enclave have carried out attacks on Israel in the past decade without coordinating with them beforehand.

Hamas officials were also waiting to hear from Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi about cash he planned to bring to Gaza this week, the sources added.

Earlier this week, Emadi told Reuters that a tranche of $15 million would arrive in Gaza on Wednesday.

Following the cross-border violence on Tuesday, however, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the funds be barred from entering Gaza on Wednesday, an Israeli official said.

It was not clear if Netanyahu planned to indefinitely halt the entry of the funds to Gaza or only on Wednesday.

Since early November, Qatar has brought $30 million to Gaza to fund Hamas-appointed civil servants’ salaries and provide stipends to needy families.

The Gulf state has said it agreed to bring a total of six installments of $15 million into Gaza for the salaries and stipends. The funds Emadi said would arrive in Gaza on Wednesday were to be the third installment.

Emadi was in Jerusalem on Wednesday, a diplomatic source told The Times of Israel, without elaborating.

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