Explosive Devices Detonate on Gaza Border; IDF Suspects Anti-tank Rocket Fired

The army is examining the possibility that an attempt was made to fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the soldiers

Tank at the border of the Gaza Strip, 2018.
Eliyahu Hershkowitz

Two roadside bombs were detonated against Israeli soldiers patrolling near the Gaza border Thursday morning, making it the third incident in recent weeks in which the Israeli army encountered explosives at border. According to the IDF, no casualties were reported at the bomb site.

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The army is examining the possibility that an attempt was made to fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the soldiers.

When the soldiers arrived in patrol vehicles at the border, two explosive devices went off, which had been placed 100 meters into Gaza. 

IDF spokesperson Col. Ronen Manelis said Thursday that "this is a serious incident, despite the fact that there were no casualties" and that Hamas "bears full responsibility for this event."

From the Israeli strike, March 15, 2018.Shehab News Agency

"We will act against any attempt to turn the demonstrations at the border fence into terrorist attacks against the IDF," he concluded. 

Following the incident, the military responded with tank fire and conducted an airstrike on five Hamas observation posts. 

According to several networks in Gaza, Israel struck back at Hamas posts and fired 14 shells; there are reports of casualties and some wounded. 

However, the Health Ministry in Gaza has yet to receive any reports of injuries from the Israeli attack. 

On Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah survived an assassination attempt in Gaza during a visit to the Strip on Tuesday. The Palestinian Authority initially blamed Hamas for the explosion, which it said targeted Hamdallah's convoy. 

Later Tuesday, however, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh spoke with Hamdallah and the two agreed that Israel and its collaborators are responsible. The Palestinian leaders also agreed that General Tawfiq Abu Naim, head of Gaza's Interior Ministry, will lead the investigation into the incident.  

In February, a device exploded near troops at the fence bordering the southern Gaza Strip. Two soldiers were seriously wounded; one soldier was moderately wounded and another lightly wounded.

According to the IDF, four soldiers went over to examine a Palestinian flag that had been hung on the fence during clashes that took place the day before. There was a hidden bomb beside the flag that exploded.

In response to the bomb incident, the army attacked the Gaza Strip and said that "this is a serious incident that could undermine stability in the region."