Israeli planes carried out airstrikes in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday night, the army said, hours after a group of Palestinians entered Israeli territory from the enclave and attempted to destroy military equipment.
The raids targeted a Hamas site in Rafah, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
The reported strikes came after a group of Palestinians from Gaza infiltrated into Israel and tried to damage machinery being used to construct a new anti-tunnel barrier around the coastal enclave on Saturday night.
The four Palestinians fled the scene as Israeli troops arrived, according to the Israel Defense Forces. The infiltration occurred early Saturday evening along the southern Gaza border.
The IDF spokesperson would not elaborate on how the men tried to damage the equipment being used to construct an above- and below-ground barrier around the Strip.
The men tried to set fire to some of the machinery, according to footage.
Video footage filmed by al-Jazeera showed the group of four men, with help from a fifth, cutting the security fence. The masked Palestinian men run up and over an earth berm, into the area where the engineering equipment was sitting unattended.
After a few moments, smoke is then been seen coming out of the area
צילום ערבי של מחבלי חמאס הערב חוצים את הגדר ובורחים חזרה למאורה שלהם.
Posted by Pub-leak on Saturday, 24 March 2018
Since last year, the Israeli military has been working full-steam to complete the security barrier, which is specifically designed to counter the border-crossing attack tunnels that have been used by terrorist groups against IDF troops and which threaten the Israeli communities surrounding the Strip. It will replace the short chain-link fence that currently surrounds Gaza.
The construction of this barrier, which includes both a thick underground concrete wall and a tall metal fence, is mostly being done by civilian contractors, who are supposed to wear helmets and protective vests out of concerns that terrorist groups might target them with sniper fire.
The barrier is meant to be completed by the end of 2019.