Israel strikes Hamas target in Gaza after 'border breach'

Israel strikes Hamas target in Gaza after 'border breach'
The Israeli army hit a military compound belonging to the ruling Hamas authorities in Rafah, after four Palestinians allegedly attempted to cross the border.

2 min read
25 March, 2018
The strike hit a military target in Rafah [File Photo: AFP]
Israel struck a Hamas target in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday night, the military said, after four Palestinians allegedly crossed the border illegally, local news reported.

The Israeli military hit a military compound belonging to the ruling authorities in Rafah.

It accused the Palestinians of carrying flammable bottles and crossing the border into Israel near Kibbutz Kissufim, Haaretz reported.

"The IDF will continue to thwart all attempts to harm the State of Israel and will respond severely against those who wish to harm Israeli civilians," the Israeli army tweeted, adding that, "Hamas is held responsible for all aggression coming from the Gaza Strip."

Last week, Israel's military carried out overnight air raids against an underground Hamas facility in the Gaza Strip, destroying a separate tunnel under construction.

The raids were carried out in response to an improvised explosive device (IED) that detonated near Gaza's northern border with Israel, the latest in a series of such incidents targeting Israeli border forces guarding the besieged enclave.

Palestinian factions warned against an escalation of Israeli aggression in Gaza, fearing that recent tensions may provoke another full-blown episode of the conflict, Arab 48 reported.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told reporters that Israeli escalation will "achieve nothing" apart from providing an incentive to the Palestinian people to "challenge and confront" the occupation.

He added that Israel must end the crippling siege of Gaza.

Gaza resident Amal Malaka spoke of her fear as the strike was occurring.

"We heard the sound of shelling, the whole of the house shaking and the windows too," she told AFP.

"My children were afraid and the girls fell down from the bed."

Earlier, an explosive device went off in the northern Gaza Strip near Israel's border fence, the army said in a statement, with no casualties reported.

Israel had already retaliated once in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, with tanks destroying a Hamas observation post.

According to Palestinian sources, tank fire injured one person.

Two explosive devices were detonated along the border a few days earlier, which had already provoked Israeli attacks on Hamas positions.

On February 17, four Israeli soldiers were wounded by an improvised explosive device on the border, sparking intense military retaliation.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blasts, but Israel has held Hamas responsible as the de facto power in the Palestinian enclave.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2014. The strip has been under an Israeli blockade for around a decade.