Shots fired at Israeli troops on Gaza border; IDF tank destroys Hamas post

No injuries reported in skirmish along the northern Strip’s security fence; incident comes as Israel due to allow transfer of $15 million from Qatar to Hamas

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

File: An Israeli tank takes a position at the Gaza Strip border, October 27, 2018.  (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)
File: An Israeli tank takes a position at the Gaza Strip border, October 27, 2018. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)

Shots were fired at Israeli troops on the Gaza Strip border Tuesday morning, prompting the Israeli military to destroy a nearby Hamas post, the army said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, soldiers stationed along the northern Gaza security fence came under fire. No troops were harmed.

In response, an IDF tank attacked a nearby observation post that belonged to the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group.

The Israeli military did not indicate who it believed fired the shots. As a rule, the IDF holds Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from the Gaza Strip, where the group seized control in 2007 by ousting the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

Tuesday’s exchange came as Qatar prepares to transfer $15 million in payouts to Hamas civil servants in the Gaza Strip, the third such installment for the terror group to be approved by the Israeli government. The funds were expected to be transferred later this week, after they were initially stalled by Israel in response to a flareup in cross-border violence, a Qatari diplomat said on Sunday.

Qatar’s envoy to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi, told Reuters the latest cash transfer was due to reach the Palestinian territory by Wednesday.

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces across the Gaza-Israel border fence, January 11, 2019. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Since March, Palestinians have been holding weekly protests on the border that Israel has accused Gaza’s Hamas rulers of using as a cover for attacks on troops and attempts to breach the security fence. Israel has demanded an end to the violent demonstrations along the border in any ceasefire agreement.

Some 10,000 Palestinians participated in riots along the border Friday afternoon, throwing rocks, fire bombs and hand grenades at Israeli troops. Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas and live fire in some cases.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said 19 people were injured in the clashes, including two members of the press and three medical personnel.

The protest appeared subdued compared to the previous week’s violence, in which one woman was killed and more than two dozen Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were wounded, prompting retaliatory Israeli airstrikes.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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