IDF strikes Hamas post after renewed rioting on Gaza border

Photojournalist among 9 injured by Israeli fire and crowd dispersal means; strike on observation site seen as warning to terror group

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Palestinian rioters burn tires during clashes with Israeli soldiers along the Israel-Gaza border on September 15, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
Palestinian rioters burn tires during clashes with Israeli soldiers along the Israel-Gaza border on September 15, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

The Israeli military carried out a drone strike against a Hamas observation post in the Gaza Strip in response to renewed rioting by Palestinians along the border on Friday.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said hundreds of Palestinians rioted on the Israeli border on Friday afternoon, including setting off explosive devices on the security barrier and hurling grenades at troops.

The IDF said soldiers stationed in the area responded with riot dispersal means and live fire in some cases.

No soldiers were hurt, the IDF said.

As the protest dispersed, the military said it carried out a drone strike against a Hamas observation post near the border. No injuries were immediately reported.

The terror group, which rules the territory, appears to have resumed regular provocations along the frontier. The strike was seen as a warning to Hamas.

Footage from the rioting showed tires set on fire along the Israeli security barrier, and troops responding with tear gas.

The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip said nine Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire and crowd dispersal means. According to Palestinian media, among the injured was a photojournalist who was hit in the hand by a tear gas canister.

The incident comes as Israeli security forces are on high alert as the Rosh Hashana holiday is underway, amid a rise in warnings and intelligence tips about possible terror attacks.

The riots also come after six Palestinian rioters were killed on Wednesday, during an attempt to detonate a makeshift bomb on the border.

Tires burn as Palestinian rioters clash with Israeli soldiers along the Israel-Gaza border on September 15, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

The IDF said hundreds of rioters participated in Wednesday’s violent protest, including some who hurled explosive devices and grenades at the security barrier. Troops responded with riot dispersal means.

At one stage during Wednesday’s riot, Palestinians attempted to plant and detonate a makeshift bomb against troops operating near the border fence, but the device exploded prematurely in the Gaza Strip, leading to fatalities.

In a statement, Hamas said it mourned the six “heroic martyrs” who were killed in the blast.

There have been several riots along the Gaza border in recent weeks.

On September 6, Palestinians detonated a large explosive device on the Gaza border during a riot that saw a number of explosives go off and grenades hurled at the border barrier in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

The recent riots signal a return by Hamas and other terror factions in the Gaza Strip to a policy of regular mass protests and violence along the border, as Hamas seeks to draw attention to the worsening living conditions in the impoverished coastal strip after Qatar, one of the biggest donors of the regime, has cut back on monthly disbursements.

A Palestinian rioter runs during clashes with Israeli soldiers along the Israel-Gaza border, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on September 15, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Weekly protests along the frontier began at the end of March 2018 and continued almost every Friday until the end of 2019, with the demand that Israel lift its restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of the coastal enclave and a call for the return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to lands that are now a part of the Jewish state.

Israel says its blockade of Gaza is necessary to prevent Hamas from freely arming itself for war and attacks.

The weekly protests on the border in 2018 and 2019 frequently involved violence, including the hurling of explosives, rocks and firebombs at IDF soldiers, as well as attempts to storm and sabotage the border fence, and in some cases, live fire toward Israeli soldiers. Troops often responded with rubber-coated bullets and tear gas, as well as live fire.

More than 200 Palestinians were killed in the riots and thousands were injured.

In addition, Palestinians regularly flew helium balloons into Israel carrying explosives and incendiary devices, sparking fires that destroyed large swaths of foliage.

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