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Israel shells Hamas site in southern Gaza after shots fired towards soldiers

April 27, 2017 3:46 P.M. (Updated: April 28, 2017 12:10 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces shelled an alleged Hamas military post in the southern besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday morning, after soldiers were reportedly shot at earlier in the day.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that shots were fired at Israeli soldiers “carrying out routine activities” on the Israeli side of the border fence with the blockaded Palestinian enclave, without reporting any injuries or damages.

The spokesperson added that Israeli forces responded by targeting a “Hamas post” in the southern Gaza Strip, although they could not confirm whether it was the post from which the initial shots had been fired.

Palestinian sources said that the Israeli army fired two mortar shells east of Deir al-Balah, adding that no injuries were reported.

Cross-border tensions between Israel and Gaza have been running high since the beginning of the year, following a number of airstrikes and shelling by Israeli forces and shooting and rocket fire from Gaza.

The Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights expressed concern in February in response to Israeli airstrikes that Israel could be leading up to a wide-scale military offensive in Gaza.

The Israeli army has previously said it holds the Hamas movement -- the de facto ruling party of the Gaza Strip -- responsible for all attacks from the territory, although other Palestinian militant groups are active in the small coastal enclave.

While armed groups inside the Gaza Strip occasionally fire rockets inside Israel, Israeli army incursions inside the Palestinian territory have long been a near daily occurrence, as the Israeli army regularly opens fire on Palestinian fishermen and farmers along the border areas, despite a ceasefire agreement that ended the 2014 war.
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