Helmet of IDF soldier hit by terrorist gunfire at Gaza border.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
An IDF tank struck a Hamas observation post, killing one Palestinian after an IDF officer was lightly wounded on Tuesday evening by gunfire along the border with the southern Gaza Strip.
“An initial investigation in the field found that during a riot, which included rock throwing, a terrorist opened fire at IDF troops,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement. “A bullet struck the helmet of an IDF officer who was stationed at the scene.”
He was lightly wounded by the gunfire and was treated in the field before being evacuated to Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba. The officer was later released from the hospital.
The Palestinian casualty was identified by the Ministry of Health in Gaza as 24-year-old Mahmoud Abed al-Nabahin. Another two Palestinians were reported to have been injured, one seriously.
The shelling came in response to gunfire targeting IDF troops stationed along the border fence near Kibbutz Kissufim during a riot which saw hundreds of Palestinians hurling stones at troops stationed along the border fence.
In addition, five Palestinians approached the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip, with two infiltrating into Israel before returning immediately to Hamas-run coastal enclave.
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 was caused, the IDF said.
The escalation on the southern border comes after a period of relative quiet with the ongoing weekly “Great March of Return” protests relatively quiet, without any casualties on the Palestinian side last week.
Thousands of Gazans protest along the security fence in the weekly demonstrations, which began on March 30, calling for an end of the 12-year-long Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
During the violent Friday 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 hectares of land and forests.
The first Israeli soldier killed along the Gazan 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.