A Palestinian sniper shot at Israeli troops during a riot along the Gaza border on Friday, causing a widespread IDF response that included tanks and aircraft strikes directed at eight Hamas posts across the strip, the Times of Israel reported. At least four Palestinians were killed.
Have snipers attacked before?
Although gun battles Israeli troops and Palestinians are not unusual, Friday's exchange appears to have started by a sniper. And that has not happened in the past, according to the report.
“Shots were fired at [Israel Defense Forces] troops from the Gaza Strip during the violent riots along the security fence. In response, IDF aircraft and tanks targeted eight military targets throughout the Gaza Strip belonging to the Hamas terror group,” the army reportedly said in a statement.
The Hamas military wing said those killed included three of its members: Shaaban Abu Khatir, 26, Muhammed Abu Farhana, 31, and Mahmoud Qishta, 23. A fourth person was identified as 27-year-old Muhammed Badwan, the report states.
Two men died during an initial exchange east of the city of Khan Younis in the southern Strip. A third was reportedly killed near the southern city of Rafah and a fourth person died after he was shot in the chest, according to reports.
Throughout the day, 120 Palestinians were wounded in smaller clashes. No Israeli injuries were immediately reported.
In some southern Israeli communities in the Sdot Negev region, residents were advised by local government officials to stay near bomb shelters, the report states. There was concern that terrorist groups along the Strip could begin “launching mortar shells and rockets at the area."
What led up to this?
Friday’s clash followed a series of small fire exchanges between both sides on Thursday.
A member of Hamas’s military wing was killed Thursday during an Israeli airstrike against a group of Palestinians launching “incendiary balloons” into southern Israel, the report states.
The military wing of Hamas had threatened retaliation for the death of its fighter. The strike, which also wounded three others, was called a “heinous crime.”
Last Friday, an IDF officer was moderately injured in a grenade attack by Gazans along the security fence. Additionally, a 15-year-old Palestinian teenager was killed by IDF gunfire, the report states.