Gun shots fired near Israel-Gaza border; no injuries

IDF force reports shots fired near Erez Crossing between Israel and Gaza; no injuries to crew working on border fence; in separate incident, 10 Egyptian civilians killed during clashes near border with Gaza.

Shots were fired towards the Erez border crossing on Wednesday, according to an initial report. No injuries were reported.



An IDF force that was securing defense contractors working on the border fence in the northern Gaza strip reported hearing gun shots fired. IDF officials said that it was most likely an internal event, but smoke-screens have been put into effect just in case. No damage or injuries was reported.


In a seperate border incident on Wednday, security and medical sources said ten Egyptian civilians were killed overnight during fighting between the army and Islamist militants near Egypt's border with Gaza, where the military has launched a crackdown in recent weeks.


At least three of the casualties were children and three were women, the medical sources said. The victims were killed in their home by two mortar shells fired by militants during a night-time curfew, security sources said.


The sources said earlier it was possible the victims had been killed in mistaken army air strikes on militants in the area, but later ruled that out. The army spokesman was not immediately available for comment.


Amid the curfew - imposed on swathes of northern Sinai after militant attacks on Oct. 24 killed 33 security personnel - local residents, medical crews and other sources had limited information about the incident.


Egypt is creating a one kilometre-deep buffer strip along the border with Gaza by clearing houses and trees and destroying subterranean tunnels it says are used to smuggle arms from the Palestinian enclave to militants in Sinai.


Residents of Sinai, who complain they have long been neglected by the state, say many rely on smuggling goods through the tunnels for their livelihoods and the creation of the buffer zone has stoked resentment.


Militant violence in Sinai, a remote but strategic region bordering Israel, Gaza and the Suez Canal, has surged since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013 and cracked down on his Muslim Brotherhood, jailing thousands of members and labeling it a terrorist organisation.


The Brotherhood maintains it is peaceful and condemned last month's attacks.


Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a militant group that has sworn allegiance to Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, has stepped up attacks on police and soldiers in Sinai and released a video this month purporting to show it was behind the Oct. 24 attack.



On Sunday, a young Palestinian boy was shot by an IDF force on Sunday after approaching the security barrier between Gaza and Israel. He was hit and was evacuated to Sorokoa Medical Center in Be'er Sheva in grave condition. The IDF stressed that the soldiers had performed the procedure for the arrest of a suspect nearing the fence but the 10-year-old boy did not respond to calls to halt his advance.


The youth, who was unarmed, was gravely wounded by gunfire. The IDF said it suspects the boy was sent as a scout by one of Gaza's terror factions to test the troops' level of alert and response times.


At the begining of the month, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded east of the border fence, in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. Israel's alert systems identified a rocket launch, but did not sound an alarm. No injuries or damages were reported.


The incident marked the second time that a rocket landed in Israeli territory since the end of Operation Protective Edge two and a half months ago.


The IDF did not return fire towards where the rocket was fired or towards other targets in the Strip.


The cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was first violated three weeks after it came into effect, when a rocket exploded in an open area near the border fence in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damages were reported in the incident.


In early October, less than a month after the end of the military operation in Gaza, Hamas renewed its short-range rocket tests and launched rockets towards the sea. Last week, sources in Gaza claimed that at least six such tests had been carried out recently.


Reuters contributed to this report.


פרסום ראשון: 11.19.14, 11:25
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