Israeli Defence Forces killed a Palestinian terrorist who opened fire at troops on the Gaza border on Sunday.
It is believed the attacker was a Hamas member though there was no confirmation from Palestinian officials or Gaza’s militant groups.
The terror incident was the second over the weekend after Golani Brigade troops halted a potential deadly attack from the Khan Yunis area in Gaza early Saturday morning.
Four terrorists armed with Kalashnikov rifles, hand grenades and rocket propelled grenade launchers were killed after they attempted to cross the border and enter Israeli territory.
No Israelis were hurt in the altercation.
Gaza sources named the Hamas members as Abdullah Hamaida, 21, Abdullah a-Ghari, 19, and Ahmed Adini, 20.
The IDF blamed Hamas for the attack.
“The incident began around 4am when observers from the Gaza Division identified a group of four suspects creeping together towards the fence,” an IDF spokesman explained.
“Fighters from the 12th Battalion positioned themselves in front of the squad, opposite (the town of) Deir el Balah in central Gaza. An exchange of fire ensued, a grenade was thrown and guns fired.”
The army spokesman added that three terrorists were at the border fence and one had crossed.
“The four terrorists wore makeshift uniforms, were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and were carrying a medical bag and pipe bombs,” he explained.
“At the same time, a tank opened fire in order to remove a threat in the area of operations.”
Hamas blamed Israeli for the pre-dawn raid.
“Israel is seeing the results of the perpetual pressure and rage in which the residents of the Gaza Strip live, which is caused by the siege it imposes on the Strip,” the terror group said in a statement.
“The actions of Israel are pushing young Gazans into independent responses.”
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus rebuffed Hamas’ comments.
“Israel holds Hamas authorities responsible and accountable for acts of violence emanating from the Gaza Strip regardless of whether Hamas ordered the attack,” he said.
12th Battalion troops responded to another terror incident in Gaza earlier this month when an IDF officer was killed.
Two soldiers were wounded during the attack.
Border community leaders’ meantime claim youngsters growing up under a constant threat of attacks from Gaza accept the consequences of rocket attacks as ‘normal life’ at school but struggle as military service approaches.
A growing number drop out of service on mental health grounds.
Military and health authorities accept a generation of soldiers may experience post-trauma affects from childhood experiences.
A number are unable to carry out military duties, preferring combat units.
Parents of new recruits have reported difficulties intensifying through using mental health services.
“We see the signs a year before they begin service,” said Nuki Goldfisher, who runs a support service for future recruits in the Kibbutz Movement. “During high school they still manage to keep their feelings bottled up but as they begin to deal with the challenges of the military, we often see they cannot carry out their duties and often drop out.”
The IDF and government is beginning to address the issue of new recruits born into a reality of rocket attacks and fear lasting a lifetime.
By Natalie Ash