IDF officer, two soldiers injured in exchange of fire at the Gaza border

Hamas militant armed with grenades and Kalashnikov infiltrated into Israel in a pre-dawn attack

August 1, 2019 22:31
2 minute read.
IDF officer, two soldiers injured in exchange of fire at the Gaza border

IDF troops face Palestinian protesters over the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip on March 30, a year after they began the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

An IDF officer and two soldiers were injured and a Hamas terrorist was killed in an exchange of fire at the border with the Gaza Strip on Thursday, the army confirmed.

According to IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, the Palestinian was identified by troops at 2 a.m. approaching the border fence in the area of Kissufim in south Gaza.

“Normal course of action was taken by troops after an infiltration is detected, an action that occurs a lot,” Manelis said, adding “but it is still unclear whether the force that arrived at the scene realized that the suspect was armed.”

Identified as Hani Abu Salah, a Hamas border patrol member, he was the brother of Fadi Abu Salah, a disabled Palestinian who was killed by the IDF in May 2018 during one of the weekly protests along the border.

Abu Salah, who was wearing a uniform and armed with grenades and a Kalashnikov, infiltrated from the southern edge of Gaza and subsequently opened fire toward Golani troops deployed to the area, moderately wounding an officer. According to Manelis, the suspect threw at least one grenade toward the force. Manelis stressed that it is believed that Abu Salah acted independently from Hamas.

Two other soldiers were slightly injured, one by shrapnel and one in his eardrum from his own firing, the IDF said. They were evacuated to Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba.

Additional Golani troops deployed to the scene, shooting and killing him. Abu Salah’s body has remained in Israeli territory.
The army closed roads near the border, and additional forces were sent to protect nearby border communities. A tank also attacked a Hamas position.

According to a senior official in the Gaza Division, Abu Salah was inside Israeli territory next to the border fence for two hours before he was killed.

Channel 13 reported that the family of Lt. Hadar Goldin, whose body has been held by Hamas since Operation Protective Edge five years ago, approached the military secretary of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding that Israel not return Abu Salah’s body to the Strip.

“We have addressed this issue to ensure that the government does not repeat past mistakes and release the body of a terrorist for burial while IDF soldiers continue to be held in Gaza,” the family was quoted as saying.

Also on Thursday, two Palestinians age 11 and 15 were arrested by troops after they crossed the border fence armed with knives. They were transferred to authorities for questioning.

The flare-up of violence broke several weeks of relative calm along the normally restive border.

On Wednesday, the military completed the largest drill since the 2014 Gaza war that saw the participation of eight brigade commanders, hundreds of reservists and air and naval forces.

During the four-day drill, key scenarios that the IDF expects to encounter in war were practiced, including maritime attacks, evacuation of wounded soldiers, IDF incursions into northern Gaza, as well as attacks on civilian communities and the evacuation of communities along the border.


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