Israel Strikes Hamas Target in Gaza After Four Palestinians Breach Border Fence

The group of Palestinians tried to set fire to a military vehicle before fleeing back to Gaza, the IDF says

Military vehicles are seen near Israel's border with Gaza, March, 2018.
Ilan Assayag

The Israeli military said it struck a Hamas target in the Gaza Strip Saturday night in retaliation for an incident earlier that day in which four Palestinians illegally crossed the border into Israel.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the incident started around 5 P.M. when four Palestinians carrying bottles filled with flamable material approached the fence on foot and managed to cross the border into Israel near Kibbutz Kissufim. 

Al JazeeraPub-leak / Facebook

The group then attempted to set fire to a military vehicle near Israeli construction work on the security barrier, the military said. When Israeli troops arrived, the Palestinians fled back into Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces' Spokesman said that in response, the air force struck a military compound belonging to Hamas in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

"The IDF will continue to thwart all attempts to harm the State of Israel and will respond severely against those who wish to harm Israeli civilians," the IDF tweeted, adding that "Hamas is held responsible for all aggression coming from the Gaza Strip."

The flare-up comes a week after the IDF struck Gaza in response to an explosion on Israel's border with the Strip – the fourth such blast in a month. Earlier in March, two roadside bombs were detonated against Israeli soldiers patrolling near the Gaza border. The most serious blast took place in February, when a device exploded near Israeli troops at the border fence. Two Israeli soldiers were seriously wounded, one sustained moderate wounds and another was lightly wounded.

Last summer, Israel began construction on a massive security barrier meant to tackle the threat posed by tunnels that Hamas builds from Gaza into Israel. The project, estimated to cost 3 billion shekels ($833 million), will include a concrete wall fitted with sensors and reaching dozens of meters deep into the ground and standing six meters high from ground level.