Israel Strikes Hamas Target in Retaliation for Gaza Border Bomb

Reports in Gaza say the Israel Air Force struck targets in the Strip's center and south

FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises over the Gaza Strip following an airstrike in November, 2017.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Israel Defense Forces said it struck a target belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip early Sunday morning in retaliation for an explosion on Israel's border with the Strip the day before.

Reports in Gaza said the Israel Air Force struck targets in the enclave's center and south.

In a statement, the IDF's spokesman said the military "will continue to act with all means at its disposal in order to ensure the security of the citizens of Israel." The statement added that the IDF holds Hamas responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip. 

The explosive device that detonated Saturday caused no casualties or damage, according to the IDF. Shortly after the blast, the military said it retaliated with tank fire, destroying a Hamas outpost. 

Media outlets based in Gaza said Israeli forces fired three shells at a Hamas post east of Gaza City. One man was lightly wounded and taken to Al-Shifa Hospital, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza stated.

The blast was the fourth incident in the last four weeks in which explosive devices targeting Israeli forces were detonated near the border fence between Gaza and Israel.

On Thursday, two roadside bombs were detonated against Israeli soldiers patrolling near the Gaza border. When the soldiers arrived at the border in patrol vehicles, two explosive devices went off. They had been placed 100 meters into Gaza. The army said it suspects that a rocket-propelled grenade was also fired at the soldiers.

Following Thursday's incident, the IDF responded with tank fire and carried out an airstrike targeting five Hamas observation posts.

The most serious incident took place in February, when a device exploded near Israeli troops at the fence bordering the southern Gaza Strip. Two Israeli soldiers were seriously wounded, one sustained moderate wounds and another was lightly wounded. In response to the incident, the army attacked the Gaza Strip. 

Last week, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah survived an assassination attempt during a visit to the Strip. 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 blamed "Israel and its collaborators" for the attempt. The Palestinian leaders agreed that General Tawfiq Abu Naim, head of Gaza's Interior Ministry, will lead the investigation into the incident.