Israeli soldiers opened fire at two Palestinians near the border in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday after it was suspected they were laying an explosive charge next to the fence, according to an Israeli army statement.
The two were hit, the statement said, and the Health Ministry in the Strip confimed that two people were evacuated to the European hospital in Khan Yunis. One was wounded in the legs, the ministry said.
Last week, Israel boosted the number of work and trade permits for Gazans to 7,000, the highest number since Hamas came to power in 2007, and expanded its fishing grounds to the Gaza Strip by 15 nautical miles.
This came after a tit-for-tat between Gaza militants and the IDF following the release of the Trump peace plan threatened to convert a relative calm into a full-blown conflict.
Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said then that Israel might launch a major military operation in Gaza in the near future. Netanyahu, speaking at a cabinet meeting, said he won’t accept “any aggression from Gaza.”
Israel’s policy is to hold Hamas accountable for any violent actions carried out from the Gaza Strip – even if it comes from other movements, like Islamic Jihad.
The unprecedented ease on restrictions on the blockaded coastal enclave comes amid ongoing political deadlock in Israel, which some analysts believe Hamas is using to its advantage.
Earlier this month, Israel’s intelligence chief Yossi Cohen reportedly visited Doha secretly to convince Qatar to continue its support for the strip, despite ongoing tensions.