The historic tensions between Israel and Palestine in the Gaza Strip boiled over into violence and death yesterday when five Palestinians were killed and four Israeli soldier were wounded as the two sides traded fire.
Israeli tank fire hit a building east of Gaza City, killing four and wounding 20 as hundreds of mourners were gathered for a funeral. Palestinian medical sources told CNN that half of those injured were in serious condition and could die.
Israel claimed the tank fire was instigated by an anti-tank missile fired by Palestinians at an Israel Defense Force patrol, wounding the four soldiers. The IDF also said it went after a rocket launching squad in the northern Gaza Strip after it fired rockets toward Israel.
The IDF said a total of 30 rockets fired from Gaza hit southern Israel.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the country’s forces will not let “the grave events on the border” go unnoticed.
Hamas sources told CNN the IDF strike west of Gaza City killed a militant and wounded four others, one of whom is in critical condition. The militant was from Al-Saraya, the military wing of Islamic Jihad.
In yet another incident, Palestinian medical sources in Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, said an Israeli artillery shell hit a civilian house and injured a couple and their two children.
While it is dealing with rockets from Palestine, Israel is also struggling to counter the spillover from the conflict in Syria. The IDF fired a guided missile at the Syrian military early Sunday, calling it a warning shot after a Syrian shell exploded in the Golan Heights for the second time in the last few days.
It was the first time Israel has fired at Syria since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
While it was firing its warning shot, Israel also sent a warning message to the UN, saying that any further firing into Israel will result “in a real response,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
“In the midst of Syrian infighting, a mortar shell fired by the Syrian army struck near an [IDF] outpost at Tel Hazeka,” IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said.
“In light of the policy instituted by IDF Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, a warning round was fired back into Syria. We don’t believe it caused injuries or damages,” Mordechai added.