IDF attacks Hamas target in Gaza after IED discovery
In wake of 2 improvised explosive devices placed on Israeli territory by 3 Palestinians who breached border and then escaped back to Gaza, IAF attacks Hamas target in northern strip; 'Hamas is solely responsible for everything going on in—and out of—Gaza, both above and below ground,' IDF says.
"Hamas is solely responsible for everything going on in—and out of—the Gaza Strip, both above and below ground," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said after the strike.
"The IDF looks gravely on the attempt lead by Hamas to turn the fence's vicinity into a theater of war, while attempting to damage or tamper with security and defense infrastructures," the statement added.
The IDF, it continued, "will also not allow the cynical use of civilians to serve as a front of terror activities against Israeli civilians and army forces, and will respond to any such attempt," the statement concluded.
Three Palestinians crossed the border fence Sunday afternoon before turning back and hiding in the isolated enclave. The suspects crossed the fence in the northern strip and stayed in Israel for a short time before escaping back, with the IDF opening tank fire on the three.
Despite the tank response, the three interlopers escaped back to Gaza unharmed, and the IDF initially said the circumstances of their crossing were being inspected. No Israeli casualties were reported.
As the three Palestinians were making their getaway, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar toured the border region, not far from where the incident took place.
After scouring the area, two improvised explosive devices that were placed by the Palestinians were discovered.
Some 90 minutes before the charges' discovery, another Palestinian crossing the fence from Gaza into Israel was apprehended by IDF forces. An initial inspection found him to be unarmed, and he was taken in for questioning.
Sunday's incidents in the wake of a string of similar occurrences of Palestinians breaching the border, and heightened tensions in the same region in light of the Gazan "March of Return" campaign.
Some 20,000 Palestinians protested near Gaza's border with Israel last Friday, many of whom rioted and attempted to harm IDF soldiers, resulting in the deaths of seven Palestinians.
Two additional Palestinians were pronounced dead overnight—one of whom was journalist Yaser Murtaja.
According to official Palestinian sources, two of the nine casualties were youths aged 16 and 17. The sources claim more than 400 were injured in the clashes.
Head of the IDF's Operations Directorate's Instruction and Doctrine Division Brig.-Gen. Motti Baruch will head a panel tasked with examining and investigating the events on the Gaza Strip border during the past two weeks, in which a total of 30 Palestinians were killed, it was announced Sunday.
The panel's investigation will be similar in nature to other probes the IDF carried out, such as ones that examined abnormal incidents that took place during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, and the 2015 death of a UNIFIL peacekeeper in crossfire between Israel and Lebanon.
Baruch will be assisted by Military Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Sharon Afek in his preliminary examination, at the end of which it will be decided whether or not to open Military Police investigations.
The panel is currently in the process of collecting materials relating to incidents that took place near the Gaza border in the past two weeks as part of the March of Return, and also examining earlier processes that were included in the army's preparation for the mass rallies.
The army clarified that the panel will operate on the working assumption of providing support to troops, as Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot had done before the second Passover holiday.