Palestinian man shot after launching grenades at IDF soldiers on Gaza border

Palestinian man shot after launching grenades at IDF soldiers on Gaza border

No reported injuries to Israelis; incident comes amid an uptick in violence in south

Israeli soldiers wounded a Palestinian man who attacked them with grenades on the northern Gaza border Thursday night.

The armed attacker was spotted approaching the border fence and launched explosives at soldiers who arrived at the scene, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

The military later released video footage of the incident, showing the Palestinian man throwing explosives toward the border.

“A short time ago IDF lookouts identified an armed terrorist approaching the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The terrorist threw a number of grenades toward IDF soldiers. The soldiers, who had come to the area when the man was spotted, charged the attacker and wounded him. There were no injuries to our forces,” the army said.

The incident comes amid an uptick in violence on the frontier. Rockets were fired at Israel from the enclave late Wednesday and early Thursday, prompting Israeli reprisal attacks.

Thursday morning’s rocket attack was the sixth rocket fired at Israel from the enclave in the past week. One rocket was fired at southern Israel on Friday night, followed by three on Saturday night. Three of these projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. One rocket struck outside a home in the southern town of Sderot, causing light damage, but no physical injuries.

The IDF launches flares near the border east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on August 22, 2019. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The army said Thursday that fighter jets and aircraft hit several “sea-based bases” in the northern Strip belonging to Hamas. The army said the strikes were in response to rocket fire, as well as “continuing terror activities from the Strip.”

An army statement added, “The IDF will continue to oppose attempts to harm Israeli civilians and considers the Hamas terrorist organization responsible for what happens in and out of the Gaza Strip.”

IDF chief Aviv Kohavi at a Thursday memorial service for fallen IDF soldiers said that the army was investigating all of the infiltration attempts in the last month, and that “the price is likely to be a heavy one.”

Also on Thursday, the IDF blamed the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad for the recent increase in violence from Gaza and called for Hamas, the de facto ruler of the enclave, to rein in the terror group.

“We do not plan to accept terror attacks and rocket fire against our citizens,” the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesperson Avichay Adraee tweeted.

The Islamic Jihad is the second most powerful terror group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas. Israel has routinely accused the Iran-backed group of seeking to derail its unofficial ceasefire agreements with Hamas by carrying out attacks from Gaza.

“Hamas, as the ruler of the Strip, must enforce its authority over Islamic Jihad and prevent these terror attacks and plots,” Adraee said.

Palestinian terrorists from the Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, squat in a tunnel, used for ferrying rockets and mortars back and forth in preparation for the next conflict with Israel, as they take part in military training in the south of the Gaza Strip, on March 3, 2015. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

The spokesman said Islamic Jihad is responsible for any failure to implement the conditions of the ceasefire agreements and that it will “suffer the consequences” for these activities.

Hamas, an Islamic terror that seeks to destroy Israel, seized control of Gaza from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority in a 2007 bloody coup. Israel holds Hamas responsible for preventing attacks from the Strip.

Hamas has sought to distance itself from a series of cross-border attacks over the past month, painting the perpetrators as young lone-wolf Palestinian attackers exasperated by the humanitarian situation in the enclave. On Monday, Hamas leaders expressed concern that popular anger could snowball into another war with Israel.

Last week, Hamas reportedly deployed extra security forces to the border area to stop the cross border attacks. Nonetheless, on Saturday Israel said it identified a group of armed Palestinian approaching the fence to carry out a cross border attack and killed them with tank and helicopter fire.

Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations have recently played key roles in brokering informal ceasefires between Israel and Gaza, which have largely entailed Hamas and other terror groups halting violence in the border area in exchange for the Jewish state scaling back some of the restrictions it has imposed on the coastal enclave.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included different video footage of the incident provided by the Israel Defense Forces. The military later said that this footage was from a different border incident and had been distributed due to a “human error.”

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