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IDF detains two Palestinians crossing Gaza border amid tensions

An Israeli soldier directs a tank at an army deployment point near the Israeli-Gaza border on August 20, 2014
Menahem Kahana (AFP)
Incident came hours after IDF shells Hamas outpost in response to failed rocket attack

Two unarmed Palestinian men were detained by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) after illegally crossing from the Gaza Strip into Israel on Sunday amid heightened tensions along the border.

An IDF force spotted the two infiltrators on the southern part of the Israel-Gaza border. The two men, who were unarmed, were detained and taken for questioning.

The incident took place with the IDF on high alert hours after shelling a Hamas observation post in response to a failed rocket attack on Israel.

The rocket set off red alert sirens in Israeli communities near the border but fell short of its intended target and landed in the Strip.

"As the rocket fire endangered Israeli citizens and violated Israeli sovereignty, a tank targeted and destroyed a Hamas observation point in the southern Gaza Strip," the IDF said in a statement.


There was no word on Monday morning of any casualties.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

A fragile ceasefire has been observed along the largely closed border since the most recent conflict in 2014.

Missiles and rockets are periodically fired into Israel, generally by hardline Salafist Islamist groups opposed to Hamas.

But Israel holds Hamas responsible for all rocket fire from Gaza, regardless of who carried it out, and usually retaliates within hours.

On Saturday, Hamas police arrested a suspected jihadist leader in Gaza, Nour Issa, 27.

In August, a suicide bomber allegedly linked to the Islamic State group killed a Hamas guard in southern Gaza along the border with Egypt, in a rare attack against the Islamists.

(Staff with AFP)



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