IDF Soldier Injured as Tensions on Gaza Border Soar

February 18, 2019

by: Jo Sarah Stanford

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Thousands of Palestinians rioting and throwing grenades at the Gaza border. (Illustrative)

Monday, 18 February 2019 | An Israeli soldier was rushed to hospital over the weekend after an escalation of violence along the Israel–Gaza border. Tensions are soaring as Hamas pushes for a full-scale confrontation following violent weekly riots that have taken place for almost a year.

On Sunday night an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldier was moderately wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near him. He sustained shrapnel wounds to the neck and was evacuated to a hospital in Ashkelon where he underwent surgery. As of Monday morning, he remained under anesthesia in a moderate condition. During the violence, Palestinian rioters threw explosives at Israeli security forces and hurled burning tires towards the border fence.

This is the 48th weekly protest since the beginning of the “March of Return,” which demands the resettlement of Palestinian “refugees”—and all their descendants—within Israel, which would make the Jewish people a minority in their own country. The violence has been ongoing for almost a year.

Last week, 11,000 Palestinians rioted at the border, many attempting to breach the fence. An undercover Israeli border police officer was injured by shrapnel to the leg when a pipe bomb exploded near his team. The week previous, two Palestinian teens were killed while participating in the riots—including the 14-year-old grandson of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s sister. Every Tuesday, attempts are also made to sail Gazan vessels across the maritime border.

Despite the death and injuries of its own people, Hamas terrorists continue to incite violence, regularly sending women and children to the front lines as a shield between themselves and Israeli security forces. Hamas knows the death of women and children creates international headlines, furthering their cause to delegitimize Israel’s right to existence.

Where in recent months, Hamas has toed the line, only pushing the IDF so far and then abating under the pretense of a cease-fire, authorities believe that the terrorist group is now pushing for all-out war. I24 News reports that Hamas “no longer opposes full scale conflict.” Hamas sees this as a way to garner international sympathy and support and to “bring in reconstruction funds for the coastal enclave.”

The increase in violence comes as Israel begins the final stages of construction on a 19-foot (6 m.) high galvanized steel fence connected to an underground concrete barrier, designed to stop terror tunnels. The fence will span the entire 40 miles (65 km.) of the Gaza border and prevent infiltration of terrorists into nearby Israeli communities.

In comments made last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again reiterated Israel’s determination to protect its people, but also to pursue peace. “If we defend our nation with all our strength, then it will be unnecessary to set out on a full campaign,” he said, reported Haaretz. “And if it is necessary—the Israeli army will rise to the challenge.”

Posted on February 18, 2019

Source: (Bridges for Peace, February 18, 2019)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces@IDF/Twitter