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IDF: Gazan armed with ax shot dead while trying to breach fence

Second man wounded as soldiers open fire on Palestinians attempting to infiltrate into Israel from southern Gaza

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

An axe that the army says had been in the possession of a Palestinian man who tried to cross into Israeli territory from the southern Gaza Strip before being shot dead by IDF troops on June 4, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)
An axe that the army says had been in the possession of a Palestinian man who tried to cross into Israeli territory from the southern Gaza Strip before being shot dead by IDF troops on June 4, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

A Gazan man armed with an ax was killed and another man was injured as they tried to breach the security fence Monday, the military said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the two men approached the security fence east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, damaged the barrier and tried to enter Israeli territory.

“IDF troops arrived at the scene and opened fire, killing one of the terrorists,” the army said.

An IDF spokesperson said the second suspect was wounded and fled back into the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian media identified the suspect who was killed as Ramzi Najjar, of Khan Younis. It was not immediately clear if he was closely related to Razan Najjar, a 21-year-old female paramedic from Khan Younis who was reportedly shot dead by Israeli troops on Friday during a riot along the border.

An axe that the army says had been in the possession of a Palestinian man who tried to cross into Israeli territory from the southern Gaza Strip before being shot dead by IDF troops on June 4, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

Tensions along the Gaza border have been heightened in recent days, after terrorist groups in the coastal enclave last week launched over 100 mortar shells and rockets at southern Israel and the IDF retaliated by bombing over 65 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the Strip.

On Sunday night, a group of Palestinians from Gaza breached the border fence and set fire to construction equipment inside Israel before fleeing back to the coastal enclave, the army said.

The IDF said the assailants set fire to shipping containers that belong to civilian contractors working on the security fence, damaging Israeli “security infrastructure” near the border. The army said no one was injured in the incident.

Rocket fire from Gaza returned on Saturday night, with terrorist groups launching multiple projectiles at southern Israel over the course of several hours. In two rounds of retaliatory raids, the Israeli Air Force destroyed some 15 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, the army said.

Earlier on Saturday, the IDF said troops opened fire at Palestinians crossing into Israeli territory from Gaza who were trying to damage “security infrastructure” inside Israel.

Friday saw riots along the security fence, with thousands of Palestinians throwing rocks, burning tires and attempting to breach the border. During the weekly “March of Return” protests along the Gaza border, an Israeli military vehicle also came under fire and a Palestinian who breached the border fence in the northern part of the Strip planted a grenade that exploded, but caused no injuries, the army said.

The IDF, in response, used tear gas and live fire against the demonstrators, reportedly killing Razan Najjar. The army said it was launching an investigation into Najjar’s death.

Approximately 120 Palestinians have been killed during riots and clashes along the Gaza border, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in the Strip. The majority of those killed have later been identified as members of Palestinian terrorist groups.

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