Israeli aircraft strikes armed Gazan approaching border

Condition of Palestinian suspect unclear; army also shoots, arrests suspect throwing firebombs at cars near Bethlehem

An Israeli aircraft on Tuesday fired at an armed Palestinian who approached the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the military said.

“A hit was identified,” a statement from the Israel Defense Forces said.

The military said the Palestinian was spotted by IDF observation posts as he neared the security fence in southern Gaza.

There was no immediate word from authorities in the Hamas-run Strip on the Palestinian suspect’s condition.

Footage of the incident, which was later distributed by the IDF, showed the suspect approaching the security fence armed with what appears to be an assault rifle. The video ends before the airstrike.

In the West Bank, the army said it shot a Palestinian man throwing a Molotov cocktail at Israeli vehicles along a road near Bethlehem, injuring him, the army says.

“IDF troops fired at the terrorist and successfully apprehended him as he tried to escape,” the military said.

The extent of the Palestinian suspect’s injuries was not immediately known.

The incidents came a day after Israeli troops arrested an unarmed Palestinian man who crossed into Israel from northern Gaza.

Gazans, some of whom are seeking to escape the Strip’s dire humanitarian crisis, are regularly caught crossing the border into Israel.

On Friday several thousand Palestinians protested on the Gaza border, with several hundred rioting and clashing with Israeli forces, as the coastal enclave’s Hamas rulers marked 32 years since the founding of the terror group.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said five Palestinians were hurt in the clashes, which included the hurling of Molotov cocktails and other objects at IDF soldiers.

In addition to the border clashes, thousands took part in rallies in Gaza over the weekend to mark the 1987 anniversary of the Hamas terror group’s establishment.

Friday’s border demonstrations were part of the weekly March of Return protests that began last March and resumed earlier this month after a three-week hiatus following a large-scale battle in November between the IDF and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest terror group in Gaza.

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