Israel Strikes Hamas Positions in Gaza: Army

Israeli Merkava tanks roll near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip as they return from the Hamas-controlled Palestinian coastal enclave on August 5, 2014, after Israel announced that all of its troops had withdrawn from Gaza.
THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli tanks hit two Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after activists set fire to the base of the security fence on the volatile frontier, the army said.

The army said the two suspected arsonists had not crossed the fence and infiltrated Israel but it retaliated with tank fire against two Hamas observation posts.

“The (army) views with great severity any attempt to damage the security fence, as well as security infrastructure,” it said.

The incident comes a day after Israeli soldiers detained three Palestinians who had slipped across the border from Gaza in possession of knives and grenades.

The army said the trio were apprehended near an army base some 20 kilometres (12 miles) inside Israel, while police distributed pictures of hand grenades, knives and wire cutters found on them.

There had already been an uptick in incidents along the border as Palestinian anger runs high over US President Donald Trump’s decision in December to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

On Saturday, a number of Palestinians breached the frontier and tried to torch heavy equipment. In response, Israeli jets attacked positions of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza.

A day later gunfire from Gaza set off Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system and in response a tank fired at a Hamas position.

 

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