(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
IDF soldiers shot at and injured two Palestinians in separate violent incidents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday, prompting the IDF to re-state its commitment to protecting Israeli interests.
"The IDF will not allow anyone to harm Israeli civilians, the security fence, or Israeli sovereignty," the IDF Spokesman's Unit said.
In the first incident, which took place in northern Gaza's Beit Lahiya, dozens of Palestinians rioted near the security fence. IDF forces arriving at the scene tried to distance the Palestinians, who were attempting to damage the fence. One Palestinian was hurt by IDF fire. Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported that the man was struck in the foot, citing local paramedics.
The Gaza border has been largely quiet since an Egyptian-mediated truce between Israel and Hamas ended Operation Pillar of Defense in November. Since then, four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops along the border, most of them in an area Israel has deemed off-limits for several years, citing the risk of attacks on its soldiers.
In the second incident, which occurred near Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, around 30 Palestinians threw stones and explosives at Israeli security personnel in the area.
A preliminary IDF investigation revealed that during the riot the security personnel fired upon a Palestinian that approached the force while slinging stones. The Palestinian was hit and was evacuated by the Red Crescent to a nearby hospital. The youth was identified by Ma'an as 15-year-old Salih al-Amarin, who allegedly suffered critical injuries.
The IDF noted that incidents near Rachel's Tomb have been especially violent lately. Palestinians have been throwing Molotov cocktails and explosives, burning tires, and throwing stones toward the tomb with the goal of harming worshipers, security personnel, and the security fence, the IDF Spokesman's Unit stated.
During such violent incidents near Rachel's Tomb in the last month, three civilians have been injured and two IDF soldiers have been lightly hurt.