Jerusalem: Israel said on Thursday it launched an overnight air raid on a Hamas facility in Gaza after gunfire from the territory targeted its soldiers and damaged a building.
“The Israeli army struck targets belonging to Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip, including terrorist infrastructure and weapons-making facilities,” the military said in a statement.
Palestinian security sources confirmed the target was a Hamas base, saying there were no immediate reports of injuries.
Yesterday, Israeli tanks fired at three Hamas positions after shots from Gaza were fired at Israeli soldiers and bullets from a heavy machinegun hit a house in the town of Sderot.
The exchanges of fire came after weeks of mass protests and clashes on the Gaza border, which peaked on Monday when some 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces.
Later on Saturday, Israeli war planes destroyed an underground attack tunnel near the border that was being built by Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, to help
militants cross into Israel, the military said.
The tunnel had reached just a few meters from the border, adjacent to Israeli communities, the military said.
“It was approximately one kilometer long. It was dug over a number of months and we have been following it for a number of weeks,” spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said.
Israel says it has destroyed several cross-border militant tunnels in recent months. Palestinian terrorists used tunnels to blindside Israeli forces during the 2014 Gaza war.
More than 40 Palestinians have been killed during six weeks of protests and tens of thousands of Gazans are expected at tented border encampments in the coming days.
Gaza is run by Hamas, which Israel and the West designate a terrorist organization. Citing security concerns, Israel maintains tight control over its land and sea borders. Egypt also restricts movement in and out of Gaza.
Israel and militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008.