Gazan killed, four wounded while trying to cross border fence

Series of incidents on Israel's southern front signals possible escalation on the horizon

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June 18, 2018 14:24
3 minute read.

Hamas targets struck by the IDF in the Gaza Strip, June 18, 2018 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

Hamas targets struck by the IDF in the Gaza Strip, June 18, 2018 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

 
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One Palestinian was killed and four others were wounded after trying to infiltrate into southern Israel from the Saja’iyya neighborhood of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

The IDF said in a statement that a blast occurred when a “security infrastructure exploded” while they tried to cross the security-fence border, but would not clarify what the exact source of the explosion was.

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According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 24-year-old Sabri Ahmed Abu Khader was killed by the explosion.

The incident came several hours after Israeli jets struck nine Hamas targets in response to the dozens of incendiary aerial devices launched on Sunday.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned Monday that the IDF will not allow Palestinians to continue launching incendiary kites toward southern Israel, which have burned thousands of acres of fields, forests and agricultural land.

“If anyone thinks we can carry on with daily [incendiary] kites and fires, he is mistaken,” Liberman said while visiting an Israel Aerospace Industries factory to mark the signing of a close to $1-billion-dollar agreement with the German Defense Ministry.

Earlier on Monday morning, Palestinians fired three rockets at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip shortly after Israeli jets struck nine Hamas military targets in the northern Strip.



Several rounds of red alert incoming-rocket sirens were heard in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, the Ashkelon industrial zone, Kibbutz Yad Mordechai and Netiv Ha’asara. According to a statement by the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit, two of the projectiles landed inside Israel while the third landed in the northern part of the coastal enclave.

No injuries were reported on either side from the projectiles, which were the first to be fired toward Israel in two weeks – the second salvo since a fragile cease-fire was agreed upon following a significant flareup in May, which saw over 100 mortars and rockets launched toward Israeli communities by the Iranian-funded Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

Shortly before the rockets hit, Israeli jets struck two Hamas military compounds in Beit Lahia and the Al-Shati refugee camp, and one weapons manufacturing plant in Gaza City, in response to the recent launching of incendiary kites and explosive devices which burned over 2,500 acres of Israeli territory.

 

“These are terror attacks that endanger the residents of southern Israel,” the IDF said in a statement.

The strikes were the most significant ones in the fight against the kites and balloons, signifying a change of policy by the IDF which until now fired warning shots to prevent the launch of such devices.

On Sunday, the military carried out three rounds of air strikes against targets in the Strip, including one which targeted the empty vehicle of one of the leaders responsible for sending incendiary kites and balloons from the northern Gaza Strip.

Israeli aircraft later fired shots toward a group of Palestinians near the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis who had launched incendiary balloons. Another aircraft later fired warning shots toward another group of Palestinians launching balloons into southern Israel; shortly after that the air force struck the area where the group was launching the devices as well as a car which brought them to the location.

“In recent days, the IDF warned [about] and carried out several attacks near the cells responsible for the arson and destruction of lands in Israel, as well as [attacking] infrastructure used by these cells,” read the statement released by the military on Monday morning.

 



“The IDF has intelligence information and the operational ability to further increase these strikes, and they will grow in strength, as required,” the statement continued. “The IDF is determined to continue acting with increasing force against these terror activities for as long as it takes and with a variety of tools, until they stop.

“The Hamas terror organization is responsible for everything that happens in and from the Gaza Strip, and it will suffer the consequences,” the IDF statement concluded.

Amid the ongoing launching of incendiary aerial devices from Gaza and high temperatures, more than 20 fires broke out across the South on Sunday.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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