Uptick in Gaza Border Violence, IDF Soldier Wounded

Palestinians hurling stones at Israeli troops at the Israel-Gaza border fence, Friday. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

An Israeli soldier was moderately injured in a surge of Palestinian violence on the Gaza border Sunday evening.

The soldier was hurt by a homemade explosive device, sustaining shrapnel wounds in the neck, according to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center, where he was taken for treatment.

“Over the last hour, a violent riot was instigated in the northern Gaza Strip, during which dozens of rioters hurled explosive devices and rolled burning tires at IDF soldiers and the security fence,” an IDF spokesperson said.

During the same incident, 19 Palestinians were injured by Israeli gunfire, according to a spokesman for the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry. The injuries ranged from light to serious, they said.

Palestinian media said that the rioters tried to breach the security fence, but were driven back by Israeli gunfire.

In response, IDF tanks shelled two Hamas observation posts near the border, the army said.

Israel holds Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, responsible for all violence from there directed at Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Sunday’s riot came two days after a massive confrontation on the border in which an Israeli Border Police officer from an undercover unit was lightly wounded by shrapnel in the leg when a pipe bomb exploded nearby, police said.

Israeli intelligence officials say that Hamas may be instigating the incidents in order to draw Israel into a larger conflict, aimed at eliciting sympathy in the international community and a fresh injection of aid money.