Israel bombs Gaza after border blast wounds soldiers

Israel bombs Gaza after border blast wounds soldiers
Cross-border fire continues between Israel and Gaza as tensions remain high following Trump's Jerusalem decision, with the most serious exchange yet leaving six injured on Saturday.
2 min read
18 February, 2018
Since Trump's Jerusalem announcement, 18 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces [Getty]
Israeli jets struck the Gaza Strip on Saturday after four soldiers were wounded in a bomb blast on the border.

The explosion, which occurred earlier on Saturday, left two of the Israeli soldiers severely injured. The blast puts this cross-border exchange as the most serious border incident since the 2014 Gaza war, reported AFP.

In response, Israel's army said "fighter jets targeted 6 military targets in Gaza belonging to Hamas, including: a terror tunnel in the Zaytun area and military compounds near Deir el-Balah and Khan Yunis".

A "launch was identified from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory," reported the Israeli army.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a security conference in Munich called the Gaza border incident "very serious" and pledged to "respond appropriately".

A Palestinian security source said the Israeli air strikes hit three bases belonging to Hamas in the east of the blockaded Gaza enclave.

Two Palestinians were injured in the raids, Palestinian medical sources said.

Earlier in the day the army said "two soldiers were severely wounded, one moderately and one slightly" when an improvised explosive device blew up along the border fence with Gaza.

None of the soldiers lives were in danger, a spokesman clarified.  

In response Israeli forces said a tank quickly opened fire at an "observation post" in southern Gaza, causing no injuries on the Palestinian side.

Palestinian security sources said the explosion took place east of the city of Khan Yunis.

A series of cross-border exchanges have erupted since President Donald Trump announced in December the US would recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Protests and violence have left 18 Palestinians dead

Israel says it holds the Islamist group - Hamas - responsible for all rocket fire, despite an Egyptian-brokered agreement in early October that set December 10 for the transfer of power to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Trump's controversial announcement only worsened the likelihood of a reconciliation happening, and damaged the already fragile peace process.

Jerusalem is a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and many Arab leaders and others reacted in anger.