Israel strikes Hamas camp after border unrest, aid blocked

AFP
Gaza Updated: Jan 23, 2019, 06:40 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The incidents signalled a rise in tensions after weeks of relative calm thanks to an informal truce between Israel and Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip.

Israel struck a Hamas site in the Gaza Strip late Tuesday after a day of border unrest that left a Palestinian militant dead and an Israeli soldier wounded, while also further delaying an aid transfer.

The incidents signalled a rise in tensions after weeks of relative calm thanks to an informal truce between Israel and Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli official said a transfer of cash from Qatar to Gaza via Israel as part of the truce would not occur on Wednesday because of the violence.

In the first exchange of fire, an Israeli tank hit two Hamas observation points in the northern Gaza Strip after shots were fired at its soldiers near the border fence, Israeli and Hamas officials said. No one was injured.

Later in the day, Israeli tank shelling killed a Hamas militant along the border in central Gaza as Israel responded to gunfire that wounded one of its soldiers, officials said.

Mohammed al-Nabaheen, 24, was killed by tank fire while four other people were hurt, a Gaza health ministry spokesman said.

Hamas confirmed he was a member of its armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

The Israeli army said a soldier was lightly wounded when a bullet struck his helmet, prompting its response.

In a statement, it said an initial investigation found "an assailant fired at troops" during a riot that included rock-hurling.

A picture published by the army on social media showed the soldier's damaged helmet.

Later Tuesday, Israeli warplanes carried out a strike on a Hamas military camp in the northern Gaza Strip, the army said. There were no reports of injuries.

There had been warnings of another escalation in recent days since Israel, citing border unrest, is holding up the latest cash transfer from Qatar to Gaza under the agreement.

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