Israeli Army Attacked Hamas Post in Gaza; Two Palestinians Said Wounded

The Israeli military says attack was in retaliation for violent protests and incendiary balloons that were launched toward Israel from the Strip

Yaniv Kubovich
Jack Khoury
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Demonstrations in Gaza, March 2019.
Demonstrations in Gaza, March 2019. Credit: AFP
Yaniv Kubovich
Jack Khoury

An Israeli tank shelled a Hamas military post in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, the Israeli military said in a statement. 

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the attack came in response to violent demonstrations and the launching of incendiary balloons which happened earlier in the day. 

Seven Palestinians were wounded in the Israeli strike east of Rafah, Gaza's Health Ministry stated, but did not mention the condition of those allegedly hit.

>> Rocket fire by mistake: Gaza, Israel write off Tel Aviv attack as ‘incompetence’ | Analysis

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The attack comes two days after the Israeli army struck two terror cells in the Strip that had thrown firebombs from the northern part of the coastal enclave into Israel.

This followed a serious flare-up, throughout which the IDF attacked some 100 targets in Gaza last week following two rockets that were fired at Tel Aviv, a first since the 2014 war. 

According to a preliminary army assessment, the rockets were fired at Tel Aviv by mistake during maintenance work.

The army said the Iron Dome missile defense system was activated as a result of the launches. It is assumed that the rockets landed in open areas due to the fact that no damage or injuries were reported. The last time rocket alerts were activated in Tel Aviv was two years ago, in what turned out to be a false alarm. The flare-up comes three weeks before Israel holds its general election on April 9.

In an unusual move, the organizing committee for the March of Return in Gaza announced last Friday morning that it called off the weekly protest along the Israel-Gaza border in light of the flare-up. The committee said in a statement that the protest, which has been held every Friday since last March, was canceled in an effort to prevent further escalation and Palestinian casualties.