Middle East

Hamas on ‘highest alert’ after Israeli raid kills 3 militants in Gaza

The military wing of Hamas vowed revenge after Israeli strikes killed three militants in the latest flare-up of violence in Gaza.

Israel said the artillery fire late Wednesday was in retaliation for shots fired at troops along the border which injured one soldier.

“We announce the raising of the preparedness level to the highest and alert all of our soldiers and forces in every location,” said a statement from the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas on Thursday, July 26.

“The enemy shall pay a high price in blood for the crime which it commits daily against the rights of our people and our fighters.”

The Gaza border was quiet Thursday morning.

The three men were killed Wednesday by Israeli artillery fire targeting a Hamas military base near the border east of Gaza City.

In total the Israel Defense Forces said it hit seven Hamas sites throughout Gaza in response to the border shooting.

The military said nine projectiles – likely mortars or rockets – were fired at Israel from Gaza overnight, including one that was intercepted by Iron Dome air defense systems.

It said most were fired at “open territory adjacent to the security fence.” No injuries or damage were reported.

Surge in violence

The latest bloodshed came five days after the United Nations and Egypt brokered a deal to halt a July 20 surge in violence.

On July 19, an Israeli soldier was killed by sniper fire from Gaza, setting off a wave of Israeli strikes.

“An Israeli soldier was killed by a sniper and rockets were fired at Israel,” the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said late Friday.

The soldier was the first to be killed in and around the Palestinian enclave since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. The two have fought three wars since 2008.

Tensions have spiked since Palestinians began protesting along the Gaza border in late March, with Israeli fire killing at least 153 Palestinians since then.

Most were shot dead during protests and clashes but others were killed in Israeli airstrikes or artillery fire.

With reporting from AFP


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