Israeli Army Hits Hamas Targets in Gaza; Rounds Fired From Strip Hit Israeli Home

Following the hit, rocket sirens rang throughout southern Israel. Hamas confirms Palestinian killed was member of its military wing

The IDF near Gaza, April 2018.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Israeli air force hit a Hamas target in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night, the IDF spokesman reported. One member of Hamas' military wing was killed in the attack, according to the Palestinian Healthy Ministry.

Following the IDF strike, Hamas militant shot machine guns towards the aircraft, triggering rocket alert sirens throughout southern Israel in the regional councils of Shaar Hanegev and Sdot Negev. Hamas' machine gun fire hit a house in Shaar Hanegev. There were no casualties or wounded.

The aircrafts were not hit. The IDF spokesman stressed that the Israeli army will not allow Hamas to turn the area along the Israel-Gaza fence into a conflict zone.

According to Palestinian media, one man was killed in the attack near Shujaiyeh in the Strip. A hospital official in Al-Shifa identified the Palestinian as Muhammad Ahmad Hajila, 31. Another Palestinian was wounded in the attack, and is in severe condition. 

The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed Hajila was a member of Hamas' military wing. Hamas validated the claim, saying Hajila died trying to intercept the Israeli air craft. 

IDF also struck a Hamas training facility in the central Gaza Strip, with no casualties reported thus far.

This has been the second time in recent weeks where machine gun fire from the Gaza Strip triggers Israel's rocket alarms. On March 26, gunfire from a Hamas drill triggered the Iron Dome missile defense system, which did not activate this time.

The IDF spokesman said that the strike on a Hamas target was carried out in response to an explosive charge that was placed and discovered earlier on Wednesday, when Israeli Defense Forces opened fire on a Hamas outpost after an explosive charge was detonated by a military bulldozer east of Shujaiyeh, near the Gaza border.

According to the IDF, the tractor was performing infrastructure work near the Karni crossing when it mounted the charge. No wounded or casualties were reported. Following the incident, IDF fired at Hamas outposts east of the Zeitun neighborhood in Gaza City.

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said that the army "holds Hamas responsible for everything that takes place in the Strip and will not allow the organization to turn the fence into a confrontation zone." The statement added that the charge was laid during protests over the weekend, which the army termed "the riots."

On Monday, IDF attacked a military compound belonging to Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, the attack was carried out in response to the attempted infiltration by Hamas with an improvised explosive device on Sunday.