Palestinians Cross Into Israel From Gaza; Army Hits Hamas Target With Tank Fire

Army says ten Gazans crossed the border and set a sniper outpost on fire; manhunt still underway after 'failed terror attack' near Ramallah in West Bank

An Israeli tank near the border with Gaza, March 15, 2018
\ Eliyahu Hershkovitz

An Israeli army tank fired Tuesday on an outpost belonging to Hamas in Gaza Strip. The Israeli defense forces said that the tank fire was a response to number of fires set by "terrorists who crossed from Gaza in the early morning hours," a statement said.

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According to the army, a group of about ten Palestinian approached to border fence near Rafah. Despite the army's high alert, the group managed to cut through the fence and reach an outpost set up for Israeli snipers due to recent border protests.

The outpost was empty at the time and the Palestinian managed to set it on fire. Afterwards they returned to Gaza. The army claims they were aware of the event as it was happening, however, it is unclear why the army would permit them to cross and damage the outpost. This is not the first time Palestinians have successfully crossed the border.

This is not the first time Palestinians manage to infiltrate into Israel. In one incident at the end of March, three Palestinians armed with grenades and knives entered Israel and were arrested more than 12 miles inside Israeli territory, near the Tze'elim army base in the south. Days earlier, four Palestinians had illegally crossed the border trying to set fire to military vehicles.

Two Palestinians who were injured in demonstrations along the Gaza Strip earlier this week died of their wounds Saturday, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza City, bringing the death toll of the protests against the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and marking Nakba Day to 64.

More than 1,300 demonstrators were injured by live ammunition from the IDF, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The death of dozens of Palestinians has sparked worldwide criticism of Israel and a diplomatic crisis with Turkey.

'Failed terror attack'

Meanwhile, Palestinians opened fire on Israeli cars in the West Bank early Tuesday. No one was hurt in the incident, which took place near Ramallah. A manhunt is currently underway in search of the shooters, the Israeli army said.  

According to the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, the Palestinians were attempting to hit cars traveling near the settlement of Talmon but missed in what the IDF described as a "failed terror attack."