Heightened Tensions Simmer on the Gaza Border

July 15, 2019

by: Kate Norman

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Palestinian rioters at the Gaza–Israeli border

Monday, 15 July 2019 | The situation on the Israel–Gaza border is yet again on the verge of combusting following the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) shooting of a Hamas operative, which the army later apologized for and attributed to mistaken identity. Hamas, the terror organization in control of the Gaza Strip, fired at least one rocket into Israel over the weekend in response.

The terror entity fired a mortar into the Eshkol Regional Council area Friday night—sending Israelis in the community near the Gaza border scrambling for the nearest bomb shelter around 10:00 p.m. The projectile reportedly landed in an open area, causing no damage.

Hamas had warned the day before that it will avenge the death of its operative, prompting the IDF to deploy additional Iron Dome defense batteries to the border region. IDF troops on Thursday fired at a Palestinian who was approaching the border fence. The Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that 28-year-old Mahmoud Ahmad Sabri al-Adham died hours later in the hospital.

The Israeli military looked into the incident and declared it to be a misunderstanding.

“Two Palestinians approached the area of the border fence earlier in the morning in the northern Gaza Strip. Behind them was a Hamas restraint operative, who was supposed to take the men back to Gaza,” the IDF Spokesperson said in a statement, according to Ynetnews. “An initial inquiry suggests 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 incident will be reviewed.”

The terror entity was not placated by the military’s apology, however, vowing retribution.

“We do not accept the enemy’s apology for the killing of the martyr Mahmoud al-Adham, and we’ll avenge him,” senior Hamas official Fathi Hamad vowed. “We give the Zionist enemy a week to implement the understandings.”

Israel and Hamas have been operating under a tentative cease-fire following a boiling point last month when incendiary devices launched from Gaza sparked dozens of fires in the south of Israel, sending the Jewish state to the edge of another operation in Gaza.

The latest spark of friction has mediators from the United Nations and Qatar scrambling to the Strip to keep the peace. While there, the mediators will inspect the progress of a power line being built in Israel to feed into Gaza along with other infrastructure projects, unnamed sources told Ynetnews.

The day after al-Adham’s death, 6,000 Palestinians flooded to the border to riot, throwing explosive devices and other objects at Israeli troops, forcing the IDF to use riot dispersal methods. The Gaza health ministry reported that 34 Palestinians were wounded during the riots.

Palestinian leaders are not only warring against their Jewish neighbor, they are also warring with each other. Egyptian delegates arrived over the weekend to mediate between Hamas and Fatah, the leading secular Palestinian political party that operates mainly out of Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Posted on July 15, 2019

Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 15, 2019)

Photo Credit: Ruptly/YouTube/screenshot