The Lebanese news site Al-Mayadeen has published a video showing the moment an IDF officer was struck in his helmet by sniper fire along the Gaza Strip security fence at the end of January.
The minute-long video shows the officer, a company commander who was deployed to the area of Kissufim, fire several rounds toward Palestinian rioters before he was shot by a sniper in the Hamas-run enclave.
Spokesman Musab al-Barim was quoted by Al-Mayadeen as stating that the group was behind the incident, saying “the Israeli enemy is the one who practices the worst kinds of terror against the Palestinians, so we exercise our right to resist.”
The officer was lightly injured by the gunfire and was treated in the field before being evacuated to Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba. He was released later that night and was back in the field shortly after. The following week he met with the head of the Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi.
“An initial investigation in the field found that during a riot, which included rock throwing, a terrorist opened fire at IDF troops. A bullet struck the helmet of an IDF officer who was stationed at the scene,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement following the incident.
In response to the shooting, an IDF tank struck a Hamas observation post, killing 24-year-old Mahmoud Abed al-Nabahin and injuring another two Palestinians. Earlier in the day, an IDF tank struck a Hamas post in the northern Gaza strip in response to shooting from the post at IDF soldiers, though no injuries or damage were caused, the IDF said.
Thousands of Gazans protest along the security fence on a weekly basis, taking part in the “March of Return” demonstrations which began on March 30, calling for an end of the 12-year-long Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
During the violent weekly protests, Gazans have been burning tires and hurling stones as well as grenades and other explosive devices toward IDF troops. Gazans have also launched countless aerial incendiary devices into southern Israel, devastating thousands of acres of land.
The first Israeli soldier killed along the Gaza front since Operation Protective Edge in 2014 also occurred near Kibbutz Kissufim, after an IDF force responded to a violent protest by 20 Palestinian youth some 400 meters from the border fence. Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi was killed after he was shot in the chest by sniper fire.
Another soldier was struck by sniper fire in the area less than a week after Levi was killed.
According to a report by KAN public broadcaster shortly after the event, Hamas also opened an investigation into the incident to determine who carried out the shooting, which the group called “unacceptable,” and in opposition to the “general interests” of the blockaded coastal enclave.
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