IDF shells Gaza post after soldiers come under fire; 2 Hamas men said killed 

Source: IDF shells Gaza post after soldiers come under fire; 2 Hamas men said killed | The Times of Israel

Hamas military wing says both dead men were members; 6 other Palestinians said wounded in latest violence on Gaza border

An Israeli army tank patrols along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on May 29, 2018. (Jack GUEZ/AFP)

An Israeli army tank patrols along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on May 29, 2018. (Jack GUEZ/AFP)

An IDF tank shelled a Hamas post on Tuesday, reportedly killing two Hamas fighters, after shots were fired from there at Israeli soldiers patrolling the Gaza Strip border.

“In response to terrorists shooting at IDF forces in the northern Gaza Strip, an IDF tank attacked the position belonging to the Hamas terror group where the attack originated,” the army said. “There were no casualties to our forces.”

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said two Palestinian were killed in the strike. The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, said both Palestinians were members of the group, and identified them as Ahmad Marjan and Abd al-Hafiz al-Silawi, both 23.

Another six were injured in the Israeli strike, Palestinian media reported.

The IDF released footage showing the Hamas men firing on the soldiers and the shell hitting the post.

The latest IDF strike in Gaza came amid reports that Israel and Hamas could be nearing a truce that would see a halt in the cross-border attacks and the easing of the blockade of the Strip.

On Monday, two Palestinians were injured in an Israeli airstrike targeting a group launching flaming balloons into southern Israel.

Incendiary balloons and flaming kites launched by Gazans have wreaked havoc in the Israeli communities surrounding Gaza since April, sparking fires that have scorched thousands of acres of farmlands and countryside.

Hamas’s political leadership met on Monday with top officials in its military to discuss its preparedness for battle with Israel, according to a report in the Ynet news site, highlighting the group’s skepticism of reaching a long-term ceasefire.

The meeting came a day after Israeli political and military brass huddled for several hours, but did not release any concrete decisions. Following the meeting, a statement from the cabinet said “the IDF is prepared for any scenario.” It gave no indication if any decision on the truce had been made.

A brushfire near Kibbutz Re’im east of the Gaza border, July 25, 2018. (Courtesy Fire and Rescue Services Southern District)

Palestinian sources told Ynet that the Hamas meeting took place in response to the Israeli statement and that Hamas leaders warned they could inflict casualties that the Israeli public and government would not be able to tolerate.

A senior Hamas source in Gaza said he was unaware of the meeting.

Hamas, a terror group that officially seeks Israel’s destruction, is the de facto ruler of the Strip.

Earlier Monday, the London-based, Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, reported that the first stage of the potential truce would see Israel fully reopen the Kerem Shalom goods crossing and increase the fishing zone off the Gaza coast. It added that in return, Hamas official said the Strip’s rulers would commit to halting all attacks against Israel.

The second phase of the deal would include Hamas-Israel talks for a prisoner exchange agreement, and the implementation of long-proposed humanitarian projects in Gaza, the report said.

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