Israel Shells Hamas Target in Response to Gaza Projectile

Blast heard in southern Israel, open area hit, spokesman of southern Israeli regional council says

FILE PHOTO: Iron Dome intercepting rockets launched from Gaza, 2018.
Ilan Assayag

The Israeli army said on Wednesday evening that it shelled a Hamas position in southern Gaza after a projectile was fired from the Strip into Israel.

Rocket sirens sounded in the southern Israeli Eshkol Regional Council, which borders Gaza. The council's spokesperson said a projectile hit an open area and that an explosion was heard in the vicinity, adding that no injuries were reported.

Palestinians reported that the Israeli army attacked a Hamas outpost east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. 

>> Gaza health system on verge of collapse, Israeli defense officials warn ministers

An hour before the rocket sirens sounded, a Palestinian report said two mortars were fired from Gaza toward Israeli forces. The army said the rockets landed inside Gaza and refrained from reporting on it. 

Earlier Wednesday, defense officials said Gaza’s health system was on the verge of collapse, which would make it difficult for the Israeli army to fight in the Strip for long and could lead to intense international intervention. 

Defense officials said, for example, that wounded civilians – who would presumably comprise most of the casualties in a military clash – would not be able to receive initial medical care. Senior officials told Haaretz that in light of the report, it would be difficult to wage war and receive international support for the operation.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said on Sunday that Ahmed Abu Jabal, 30, succumbed to bullet wounds sustained on the Gaza border the previous Tuesday.

The ministry also reported that 32 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli military fire in the protests near the fence. Two paramedics were also said to have been wounded by tear gas canisters fired by the Israeli military.

According to data in a United Nations report released last week and confirmed by Israeli security officials, 295 Palestinians were killed and about 6,000 wounded by live ammunition. Some 180 women have been shot by the IDF since protests began last March.