A civilian working on the Gaza border fence was shot and lightly wounded near the border with the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
The 33-year-old civilian is reportedly a contractor hired by the IDF to carry out maintenance work on the border fence along the Gaza border. The civilian was struck by shrapnel in the leg and was transferred to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.
Shortly after the shooting, the IDF responded with artillery fire towards a number of Hamas posts in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian reports claimed that at least three Gazan farmers were wounded in the retaliatory strikes. One of the injured Gazans was reportedly in moderate condition, while the other two were in light condition.
Additionally, Israeli farmers working near the Gaza border have been directed to halt their work until further notice, the Eshkol Regional Council directed. No further directives have been issued as of yet. The IDF has also closed some roads near the border fence.
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem told Palestinian media after the attack: “In light of the increasing Zionist attacks against our prisoners and our holy sites, the escalation of the settlers’ crimes against our people in the West Bank, and the continuation of the siege on Gaza, it is natural that the silence and calm of our people and their forces will not continue.”
Earlier this month, the Defense Ministry announced that it had completed a 65-kilometer upgraded barrier with the Gaza Strip. The new six-meter high fence − similar to the one that runs along the Israeli-Egyptian border − includes an underground barrier that stretches along the entire Gaza border, as well as a maritime border wall. It also has a system of advanced sensor and monitoring devices to detect tunnels.
The shooting comes amid a wave of terror attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as growing tensions in Israeli prisons.
In recent weeks violent clashes have erupted throughout the West Bank between Palestinians and Israeli settlers and with security forces after Palestinian terrorists attacked an Israeli car as it left the Homesh hilltop in the direction of the Shavei Shomron settlement, killing Yehuda Dimentman, 25, and slightly wounding two others.
Last week, an Israel Prison Service (IPS) staff member was stabbed and slightly wounded in Nafkha Prison as Hamas threatened to respond to the alleged mistreatment of female Palestinian prisoners. Tensions in Israeli prisons have reportedly remained high since the incident.
Additionally, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement has demanded the release of Hisham Abu Hawash, a Palestinian in administrative detention who has been on hunger strike for moire than 130 days. Hawash’s detention has reportedly been frozen in recent days, although he is continuing his hunger strike and is hospitalized.
Several Palestinian factions launched a large-scale, joint exercise in Gaza in recent days, as reports indicated that negotiations on reconstruction and a prisoner exchange with Israel had deadlocked.
The Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Wednesday that Gaza factions believed that Israel could try at them to “evade” commitments it made to Gaza. Sources from the factions warned that they would respond to any attack with “very big strikes against the main cities” in Israel.
This is a developing story.