Improvement in condition of IDF officer wounded by Gaza gunfire

Soldier’s status stable after operation, hospital says; female soldier who was lightly hurt is released to her home

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Illustrative: Israeli army jeeps patrol on the border with the Gaza Strip on October 17, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustrative: Israeli army jeeps patrol on the border with the Gaza Strip on October 17, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The condition of an IDF officer wounded by gunfire from the Gaza Strip improved Saturday, a day after he was hit while on patrol along the border.

Officials at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba said the soldier had undergone an operation and was in moderate, stable condition and fully conscious.

A female soldier lightly injured in the incident has been released to her home.

The two were hurt Friday when shots were fired at troops during weekly riots along the Gaza border. Israeli aircraft attacked a Hamas post in response, killing two Palestinians and wounding two others, Palestinian sources said.

The officer was moderately wounded and the female soldier was lightly hurt, the IDF said. Media reports said the soldier — an officer and a tracker — had a gunshot wound in the thigh, while the female soldier was hit by shrapnel.

The army said the soldiers were part of a patrol near the border in the southern Gaza Strip that had come under sniper fire. In response to the shooting an IDF aircraft attacked a nearby Hamas post, the army said.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said two people were killed in the strike and two others were wounded. The ministry identified them as Abdullah Ibrahim Mahmoud Abu Salouh, 33 and Alaa Ali Hasan al-Boubli, 29.

Hamas confirmed the two men killed in the air strike were members of its military wing and pledged to respond to what it called “Israeli aggression.” The Palestinian Islamic Jihad also said it held Israel responsible for the deaths.

On Saturday morning around 90 rockets were launched into Israel by Gaza terrorists.

Friday’s exchanges of fire came during the weekly border protests where several thousand Gazans gathered at five sites. Some of the demonstrators rioted, throwing rocks and makeshift explosive devices at soldiers, who responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.

A third Palestinian was killed during riots along the border, the ministry said, identifying him as Ra’ed Khalil Abu Tayyer, 19, adding that 40 protesters had been injured. The IDF said troops had identified several attempts to breach the fence.

Overnight Friday, a fourth Palestinian died from injuries sustained during the riots, according to Hebrew media reports.

On Thursday, a Hamas delegation led by the group’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar traveled to Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials on a truce with Israel, Hamas officials said.

That agreement has appeared to be under stress in recent days, with Palestinians launching arson balloons and rockets into Israel and Israeli warplanes striking Hamas targets.

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