Several homes and cars in the southern Israeli city of Sderot were struck by machine gunfire Monday evening mere hours after one Palestinian was killed by an IDF tank shell after an exchange of fire with IDF troops in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday after two Gazans armed with knives, wire cutters and incendiary material were caught trying to breach the security fence.According to a statement released by the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit, troops were targeted with gunfire during the arrest, leading to the IDF responding with tank fire against a nearby observation post.
While no Israeli soldier was injured, the Palestinian ministry of health reported one Gazan was moderately wounded by shrapnel and another, Muhammad Ahmad a-Radai (25), was killed.The incident comes after the IDF confirmed Sunday that a drone armed with explosives launched from the northern part of the Gaza Strip landed in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council last week. The drone was recovered whole “a few days ago” and according to a report in Haaretz, the military is examining whether the drone was launched with the intention of injuring Israeli soldiers and fell before reaching its intended target, or if the individual operating the device lost control of it.Both Islamic State and Hezbollah have used weaponized drones to carry out attacks. Since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Hamas has invested in drone capabilities. In recent years, its drones have on occasion come near and sometimes breached Israeli airspace, leading the IDF to scramble jets or fire missiles.In February 2017, a Hamas drone that was making its way toward Israel from the Gaza Strip fell into the sea after being shot down by an Israeli F-16. The previous year, Hamas’s chief drone expert and engineer, Muhammad Zouari, was assassinated in Tunisia in an operation blamed on the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency.According to Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, Zouari had been supervising its drone program and was gunned down in his car near his home close to the city of Sfax.In 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, the IDF said it struck Hamas facilities that were being used to develop drones capable of carrying explosives. Then-GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo said at the time that the IDF destroyed “advanced weaponry like the development of a UAV that isn’t used for photography but for attacks deep inside Israel.”Gazans have been protesting along the border with Israel for the past seven weeks as part of what organizers have called the “Great March of Return.” Demonstrators have been throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and rocks toward Israeli troops and flying incendiary kites toward Israeli territory with the aim of arson.Hadashot TV news reported Saturday night that 300 incendiary kites have been flown into Israeli territory from Gaza since April 13, setting off more than 100 fires and destroying thousands of dunam of agricultural fields.On Sunday, three Palestinians were killed when IDF tanks shelled an observation post in the southern Gaza Strip after an improvised explosive device hidden in bolt cutters was placed on the security fence.The Palestinian Maan News Agency had earlier quoted the Gazan Health Ministry saying that 116 Palestinians have been killed by IDF fire and more than 13,000 have been wounded since the protests began on March 30th. Another three people were killed on Sunday.Juliane Helmhold contributed to this report.
Funeral of Gaza militant killed by Israeli army while thwarting border breach, May 28, 2018 (Reuters)