IDF troops killed three Palestinians who breached the Gaza border and threw an explosive device.
By World Israel News and AP
The Israeli military announced that soldiers eliminated three Palestinians who infiltrated Israel by breaching the Gaza border fence and threw an explosive device at troops on Tuesday.
Troops fired on three suspects who “hurled a grenade or an explosive device” at the soldiers. There was no immediate comment from the Gaza authorities.
The incident along the Gaza frontier threatened to undermine efforts to reach an informal cease-fire between Israel and the Islamic terror group Hamas that rules the enclave.
Earlier in the day, a senior Hamas official said that the launch of a new wave of incendiary balloons, a key weapon in the group’s campaign of arson terror, represented a signal to Israel to accelerate unofficial “understandings” meant to ease the blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory.
Speaking to journalists, Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya accused the Israelis of moving too slowly.
He said the balloons had been launched by disgruntled individuals, not Hamas, despite the fact that evidence indicates that the cells that launch arson balloons are directed by Hamas. Al-Hayya added that Hamas was “satisfied” with the launches and is ready to send more “if [Israel] doesn’t pick up the message.”
Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas, a terror group that seeks Israel’s destruction, seized control of the territory in 2007 in a bloody coup, ousting the Palestinian Authority. Hamas spends massive amounts of foreign aid on weapons to attack Israel and support terror cells in the Strip and Judea and Samaria, an fiscal policy that has devastated the local economy.
After three wars and dozens of smaller skirmishes, the bitter enemies have been working through Qatari, Egyptian and U.N. mediators to reach a series of “understandings” that would ease the blockade in exchange for guarantees of quiet.
Since 2018, the incendiary balloons have started fires that have destroyed thousands of acres of Israeli farmland and nature preserves, causing millions of dollars in damage.
Last week, an Israeli military helicopter struck a Hamas target in Gaza in response to the resumption of the launches.
The U.N.’s Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, called the renewed balloon launches “concerning and regrettable” in a briefing to the Security Council on Tuesday. “These actions are a risk to the civilian population,” he said.
For the past 20 months, Hamas organized weekly violent riots along the fence, using women and children as human shields during attempts by its operatives to breach the security barrier.
The riots have included snipers firing at Israeli soldiers, while other participants burn tires, throw explosives and launch incendiary balloons.