Israeli army says Palestinians killed crossing Gaza fence

Hamas spokesman said the four Palestinians who were killed crossing the Gaza perimeter fence were engaging in “an individual act,” stressing that the operation was not planned by Hamas.
Saturday 10/08/2019
An Israeli tank inspects the area across the border fence with the southern Gaza Strip, August 1. (AFP)
An Israeli tank inspects the area across the border fence with the southern Gaza Strip, August 1. (AFP)

GAZA CITY — The Israeli military says it killed an unspecified number of Palestinian militants who had crossed the Gaza perimeter fence and threw a grenade at soldiers.

The army said the militants were killed Saturday morning and carried RPG launchers and assault rifles.

Local Palestinian media reported three to four people approached the fence in the southern Gaza Strip.

A Hamas spokesman said the four Palestinians who were killed crossing the Gaza perimeter fence were engaging in “an individual act,” stressing that the operation was not planned by Hamas.

Abdel-Latif al-Qanou said Saturday that the attempted infiltration was carried out by “angry youths” who were reacting to Israel’s 12-year blockade of Gaza.

“The occupation is responsible for the state of anger and pressure inflicted on our people due to the continued siege on Gaza,” he said in a statement.

Earlier, Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Israel holds Gaza’s ruling Hamas authorities “responsible and accountable for any acts of violence emanating from the Gaza Strip,” regardless of whether Hamas ordered the attack.

Israel and Hamas reached an informal cease-fire in May, following the worst bout of fighting since a 2014 war between them.

Hamas has staged weekly protests along the Israel-Gaza frontier since March 2018 against the strip’s dire conditions following 12 years of Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

The militant group canceled this Friday’s protest because of the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

(AP)