The IDF announced on Thursday that troops accidentally shot a Hamas operative, who was reportedly preventing two other Palestinians from breaching the border.
By World Israel News and AP
Israeli troops shot and killed a member of the Hamas terror group in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday in what the military later described as a mistake.
It was the first fatality along the volatile border since an unofficial cease-fire was reached in May and raised the risk of inadvertently sparking a new round of violence.
Hours after the shooting, the Israeli military said that soldiers had spotted two Palestinians near the border fence and “misidentified” a member of the Hamas unit tasked with monitoring Palestinian rioters near the security barrier.
Since March 2018, Hamas has orchestrated violent rioting along the border, including snipers, Molotov cocktail hurlers, and cells of Palestinians who launch airborne incendiary devices into Israel.
The Hamas member killed on Thursday was apparently part of a unit responsible for reining in rioters when the terror group seeks to deescalate violence.
“In retrospect, it appears that the IDF troops who arrived at the location misidentified the Hamas restraint operative to be an armed terrorist and fired as a result of this misunderstanding,” the IDF said. It said the incident was being reviewed.
Earlier, Hamas accused the army of “deliberately” firing at one of its members, 28-year-old Mahmoud al-Adham, in the town of Beit Hanoun. The terror group, which rules Gaza and has launched hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians during the past year, vowed to retaliate.
Israel and Hamas came to the brink of full blown conflict in May, the worst round of violence between the two sides since a 2014 war.
Palestinian terrorists bombarded Israel with hundreds of rockets, while Israel carried out several hundred airstrikes on terror targets in Gaza. Five Israelis were killed in the rocket barrages.
Egyptian, Qatar and U.N. mediators managed to halt the fighting and are working to strike a lasting cease-fire agreement.