Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli fighter jets targeted a Hamas “military target” in northern Gaza on Monday in response to Palestinians infiltrating the border and laying bombs the previous day, the army said.
Palestinian security sources in Gaza said the Israeli strikes hit a base in Jabalia belonging to Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, and farmland near Beit Lahia, causing damage but no injuries.
The Israeli strike came a day after suspects crossed the northern Gaza border fence, leaving “explosive devices” that were found by the army.
The border fence between the Palestinian enclave and Israel has become the backdrop of mass Gaza demonstrations that lead to deadly clashes.
Israel has faced mounting questions over its use of live fire after 10 days of protests and clashes along the Gaza Strip border.
On Monday, the Gaza health ministry said Marwan Qudeih, 45, who was wounded by Israeli fire east of Khan Yunis on March 30, died of his wounds.
His death brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since then to 31.
Israel says it opens fire when necessary to stop damage to the border fence, infiltrations and attempted attacks.
It alleges Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip and with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, is seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence.
“The IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) views with great severity the Hamas terror organisation endeavours to turn the security fence parameter into a combat zone while attempting to damage security and defence infrastructure,” the army said in its Monday statement.
Rights groups have harshly criticised Israeli soldiers’ actions, and Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to troops.
On Sunday, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she was opening a preliminary probe to determine whether there was enough evidence to launch a full-blown investigation into any alleged crimes committed by Israel or Hamas.