IDF retaliates following explosion on northern Gaza border

The explosion comes following months of increased tensions between Israel and Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip.

IDF Retaliates Following Explosion on Northern Gaza Border, March 15, 2018
Two explosive devices were detonated near the border fence along the northern Gaza Strip early Thursday morning. There were no casualties as the explosion was not near IDF soldiers. In retaliation, the IDF attacked five Hamas positions using tanks, and fired airstrikes at a sixth position.
Palestinian sources reported Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip and the death of two Palestinians.
IDF soldiers recognized suspicious movements while routinely patrolling the area during foggy weather Wednesday night. IDF spokesperson Ronen Manelis assessed that the fog, or the auspices of the ongoing demonstrations by Palestinians by the fence, were what enabled the explosives to be placed in Israeli territory.
Manelis called the incident "serious." He added that security forces are currently investigating whether anti-tank rockets were fired at IDF soldiers.
"We view Hamas as the sovereign power in the Gaza strip and hold it responsible for everything that happens there," Manelis said. "We will act decisively against any attempt to turn the [area around] the fence into a hideout for terrorist activities, and we will not allow the demonstrations [by Palestinians near the fence] to turn into terrorist activities."
Cabinet minister Zeev Elkin said in an interview to Israel public radio that “we are witnessing an attempt to fan the flames in the south.”
He assessed that rogue Salafi organizations or the Islamic Jihad were likely behind the blast, not Hamas, and that he trusted the IDF would act accordingly.
A month ago, four soldiers were wounded when an improvised explosive device was set off near IDF forces on the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip. As a result of the explosion, two soldiers were severely wounded and two were lightly wounded.
Earlier this week,, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and PA General Intelligence Services chief Majid Faraj survived an assassination attempt after entering the Gaza Strip.
These explosions took place after several tense months during which three terror tunnels were located along the border with the Gaza Strip, and explosive devices were placed on a road used by IDF forces moving north of Tulkarm.