IDF shells Hamas position, killing 1, after soldiers fired at

Hamas military wing says Mohammed al-Rudeia, 25, killed in Israeli tank strike; latest in series of cross-border incidents

An IDF tank is seen near the Gaza Strip on May 15, 2018. (Hadas Parush/ Flash90)
An IDF tank is seen near the Gaza Strip on May 15, 2018. (Hadas Parush/ Flash90)

Israeli soldiers came under fire from Gaza on Monday, prompting the military to launch fresh strikes on Hamas targets in the Strip, the IDF said.

One Gazan was killed and another moderately injured, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

The Israeli troops were arresting two Palestinians who infiltrated into Israel from the Gaza Strip when they came under fire from across the border, the army said.

No Israeli soldiers were reported to be injured.

In response, an IDF tank fired at a nearby observation post, the army said. Reports said the shelled position belongs to the Hamas terror group which rules the Palestinian enclave.

Mohammed al-Rudeia, 25, was killed and another man wounded by shrapnel, the Gazan health ministry said. Hamas’s military wing said Rudeia was a member of the terror group.

Palestinian sources confirmed that Israeli forces shelled targets in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians who breached the security fence were found to be in possession of bolt cutters, knives and flammable liquid. They were handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.

As a matter of policy, the Israeli army considers Hamas, which rules Gaza, to be responsible for any attack emanating from the beleaguered coastal enclave.

It was the second round of strikes in Gaza in two days, after on Sunday Israel fired on an Islamic Jihad position in the southern Gaza Strip, killing three people. It came in response to the discovery of an improvised explosive device placed along the Gaza security fence. The army said the IED targeting IDF troops was disguised to look like a set of bolt cutters.

An improvised explosive device, disguised to look like a set of bolt cutters, found at the Gaza security fence on May 27, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

A spokesperson for the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad terrorist group confirmed the men were members of its military arm.

Earlier Monday, the Gaza health ministry said that a man who was wounded several days ago in clashes with Israeli forces on the border had succumbed to his wounds.

The report did not say exactly when the man, whom it named as Nasser al-Arini, 28, was wounded.

The strikes continued a series of cross-border incidents that occurred over the weekend.

Late Saturday night, Israeli aircraft carried out a series of strikes against Hamas positions in the southern Gaza Strip late Saturday night, in response to a border breach earlier in the day, the army said. Palestinian media reported that the airstrikes hit a number of Hamas positions in the areas of Rafah and Khan Younis. No injuries were reported.

On Saturday morning, IDF soldiers spotted four Palestinians who crossed the security fence into Israel from the southern Gaza Strip. According to the army, the four threw a firebomb, and left a tent inside Israel with the message: “March of Return: Returning to the lands of Palestine.”

The soldiers opened fire at the individuals, who in turn fled back to the Palestinian side of the fence. No injuries were reported in the Saturday morning incident.

Palestinians burn tires along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Khan Younis, on May 25, 2018. (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)

The infiltration was one of numerous attempts over the weekend to breach and damage the border fence, the IDF said.

Dozens of burning kites were flown from Gaza across the border over the weekend, sparking several fires in Israeli fields, Hadashot TV news reported Saturday night. In the past month, 300 “attack” kites have been flown across the border, the report said, setting off 100 fires.

The IDF also announced Sunday that an explosives-laden drone flown over the border from the Gaza Strip was discovered in Israeli territory last week. The army said the drone was found in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, in the northern Negev, “several days ago,” and that it was flown over the border from Gaza with the intention to injure Israeli soldiers patrolling the area.

The army said the drone was recovered whole, and an investigation into the incident had been opened.

Since March 30, tens of thousands of Palestinians have taken part in weekly protests which Israel says are orchestrated by Hamas and used as cover for attempted terror attacks and breaches of the border fence.

The violent demonstrations were meant to end on May 15, but Hamas leaders have said they want them to continue. Over 10,000 Gazans took part in the demonstrations in the course of Friday and Saturday, the army said.

The demonstrations came to a head on May 14 when the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem and at least 60 Palestinians were killed in clashes — almost all of them Hamas members, the terror group has acknowledged.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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