Hamas gunman shot after firing at troops in fresh Gaza border battle

IDF shells terror group’s positions in response to infiltration attempt in northern Strip day after four Palestinian killed trying to sneak into Israel

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

A picture taken from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip shows an Israeli tank near the border fence with the coastal enclave on August 1, 2019, following a firefight with a Palestinian gunman. (Said Khatib/AFP)
A picture taken from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip shows an Israeli tank near the border fence with the coastal enclave on August 1, 2019, following a firefight with a Palestinian gunman. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian gunman who opened fire at them while attempting to sneak into Israel from Gaza early Sunday, the military said, as fresh fighting broke out on the tense border.

This was the third infiltration attempt by armed terrorists from the Gaza Strip into Israel in 10 days.

Graphic photographs of the slain assailant shared on Palestinian social media showed him in fatigues with an AK-47 assault rifle at his side as medics come to move his body from the border area. Additional images from the morgue showed him wearing a green bandana associated with the Hamas terror group’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, indicating that he was a member of the Gaza-ruling organization.

The terror group did not release an official statement on the border clash as of Sunday morning.

In response to the attempted infiltration, the IDF said it shelled a number of observation posts along the border controlled by Hamas, whom Israel holds responsible for all violence coming out of the Strip.

“IDF lookouts spotted an armed terrorist approaching the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The terrorist shot at IDF troops. The troops, who were prepared for the event because of the lookout, opened fire at the terrorist,” the army said in a statement.

No Israeli soldiers were injured, nor was any damage caused to their vehicles, the IDF said.

The military said the infiltration attempt did not present a threat to the nearby Israeli communities.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry identified the terrorist as Marwan Nasser, 26. His body was taken from the border area to the Indonesian Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip.

The incident came a day after the army said it killed four heavily armed Palestinians who attempted to sneak into Israel, a over a week after a Palestinian gunman managed to wound three soldiers before being killed.

On Saturday, the IDF said lookout troops spotted four figures heading toward the border fence “in military formation” from the direction of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

The four Gazans were killed by Israeli soldiers who “opened fire once one of the terrorists scaled the fence,” the military said in an initial statement, adding that a hand grenade was thrown at the troops during the clash but none of the soldiers were injured.

They were later found to have been armed with AK-47 rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, hunting knives and bolt cutters, according to the IDF.

Army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said the four Palestinians were all wearing “uniforms” — without elaborating — and were equipped with food and a medical kit as well as the rifles.

A Hamas statement condemned Israel’s killing of the four Palestinians as a “crime,” but did not take responsibility for the attempted attack.

On August 1, a Palestinian man in a Hamas uniform sneaked across the border and opened fire on three soldiers, wounding them. He was killed by return fire. Hamas did not take responsibility for his actions.

Times of Israel staff and AFP contributed to this report.

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