Palestinians, IDF exchange fire in Gaza

Published May 4th, 2016 - 10:30 GMT
A file photo of a rocket fired from Gaza. (AFP/File)
A file photo of a rocket fired from Gaza. (AFP/File)

Palestinians in Gaza fired a mortar shell at an IDF unit carrying out operational on the Gaza border fence on Wednesday.

An IDF tank carried out return fire at a Hamas position in the area, the military said.

There were no injuries among IDF soldiers.

The incident marked the second straight day in which Palestinians in Gaza fired at IDF soldiers on the border.

The previous day's attack targeted soldiers on the border with northern Gaza. There were no injuries in that incident, which came hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an unannounced visit to the area.

The prime minister said during his visit that the past two years since the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge have been the most quiet since Hamas took over the coastal enclave in 2007.

Netanyahu, who went to the site of a large tunnel from Gaza into Israel that was discovered last month, was accompanied by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir and other top IDF officials. He received a briefing there on the security situation in the area.

Speaking to Golani soldiers in a grove of Eucalyptus trees, Netanyahu compared the situation today where IDF soldiers are defending the country to the situation 70 years ago during the Holocaust when “we were like a leaf driven in the wind, with no defense force, helpless. They massacred us, slaughtered us.”

Today, he said, “we have a country, an army, the ability to defend ourselves in this sector, in all sectors – near and far – and what motivates me is to secure the future of Israel in its land.”

The Jewish people, he said, has no future without its country.

Netanyahu praised the soldiers for their “spirit,” saying this is what makes the army what it is.

By Yaakov Laapin and Herb Keinon

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