The IDF is girding for large, Hamas-organized protests on the Gaza border Wednesday.
“In recent days, troops have been preparing massively, as specific plans were being approved, drills were performed at different points and reviews were held in the field. IDF troops will act aggressively against attempts at terror along the border,” the military said in a statement on Tuesday.
Two special forces units, a tank company and a number of snipers were deployed to the Gaza border area, according to media reports.
The decision to reinforce the Gaza Division was made following an assessment led by the Head of Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano.
The army is readying itself for multiple scenarios, including violent riots along the perimeter fence, the launching of incendiary balloons, and rocket fire at southern Israeli communities.
The confrontation on Wednesday follows an uptick in border violence. Border Police officer Barel Shmueli was shot in the head by a Hamas terrorist at the Gaza border during a Palestinian riot there.
Shmueli underwent several operations at Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheva but at last report was still in critical condition, intubated and sedated.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, over 41 Palestinians including 10 children were injured during the demonstrations.
The protests have focused on forcing Israel to end its blockade of the Hamas-run enclave, which is maintained for security reasons.
Hamas has been pressing for Israel to allow more materials to enter the territory, but Israel has insisted that major reconstruction caused by the 11 days of fighting in May is conditional on significant progress toward the release of two citizens and two fallen soldiers in Hamas hands.