IDF opens fire on shooting terrorist in Gaza
As talks stall on long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, fresh skirmish occurs on the Gaza border, with troops returning fire in northern strip; IDF says terrorist was hit, no injuries or damage caused to Israeli side; exchange of fire comes day after incendiary balloons cause fires in south Israel.
No injuries among the Israeli troops were reported, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, but the terrorists was said to have been hit as the army looked into whether other terrorists were at the scene.
The incident took place against a background of a possible ceasefire between Israel and Hamas to put an end to months of violence on the border, characterized by rocket attacks, Israeli tank and air strike retaliations and the launching of incendiary kites and balloons from the strip.
As delays were said to have temporarily stymied what was reported at the end of last week to be an imminent ceasefire, incendiary devices continued to fall on Israeli communities surrounding Gaza, causing three fires to erupt on Sunday.
On Sunday morning, a fire broke out in the Erez Forest, burning a relatively small patch of land as thousands of acres of landscape have already been scorched by the primitive weapon that has so far prove unstoppable.
The same afternoon, an incendiary balloon landed near Kibbutz Be’eri and sparked a fire. Shortly after, another balloon landed and caused a fire in Be’eri Forest. In all instances, the flames were brought under control by firefighters and security forces in the towns.
Israel partially closed the Erez border crossing in the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning in response to violent demonstrations staged by the residents over the weekend, and following a delay in the reaching of the expected ceasefire agreement with Hamas.
Israel made the decision to close the crossing located on the northern tip of the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a weekly March of Return demonstration on Friday afternoon that descended into violence on the border, during which the rioters threw Molotov Cocktails, improvised bombs and in which two Palestinians were killed.
The crossing will be reopened at times on humanitarian grounds.
The closure is a symbolic move by Jerusalem since the Erez Crossing is used by few Palestinians. Those who do use the crossing do so with official authorization on humanitarian grounds, mainly belonging to aid organizations.
Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said Sunday that the closure of the Erez border crossing to Gaza was intended to be a “yellow card” warning to Hamas, after Palestinians staged violent protests on the Gaza border at the beginning of the weekend.
"It appears Hamas has begun recalculating its direction after a long period of rocket firing and terrorism. It's not enough, but if that's the direction they're going, we hope it'll become more prominent," Hanegbi said in an exclusive interview with Ynet.