The IDF is gearing up for heavier-than-usual riots on the southern border as Hamas threatens a violent response to the mistaken killing of a Hamas field commander who was trying to prevent Gazan rioters from breaching the security fence.
On Thursday morning, IDF troops shot and killed a man as he approached the security fence from Gaza. An unnamed Hamas military from the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades told Haaretz news that the man, identified as 28-year-old Hamas field commander Mahmoud Ahmad Sabri al-Adhamaid was part of the terror group’s restraint unit, which is deployed along the border and is meant to prevent Palestinians from breaching the security fence. According to the statement, the officer was shot while “performing his duty in the perimeter protectors force.”
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said that al-Adham was moderately injured by the Israeli gunfire, sustaining a wound to the leg. He was later pronounced dead, the ministry said.
The al-Qassam Brigade said in a statement it would not let the death go “unpunished” and Israel “would bear the consequences of this criminal act.”
“The enemy fired deliberately on one of our border control personnel while fulfilling his duty. We will conduct our examinations and assessments concerning this grave crime. And we emphasize: this will not pass unnoticed and the enemy will bear the consequences,” a follow-up statement warned.
The IDF released a statement saying the soldier who fired was not authorized to do so.
“An initial inquiry suggests that a Hamas operative arrived to the security fence on the Israel-Gaza border where two Palestinians were wandering the area,” the military said in a statement. “(It) appears that IDF troops who arrived at the location misidentified the Hamas operative as an armed terrorist and fired as a result.”
Later on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the military was preparing for any confrontation that may arise in the wake of the incident.
“I prefer that there be calm — not that we are under the illusion that we can reach a political agreement with [Hamas], who wants to wipe the State of Israel off the face of the earth. But we are preparing for a campaign that is not only broad, but also surprising,” Netanyahu said in a meeting at city hall in the coastal city of Ashkelon.
The incident comes at a time when most media are reporting relative calm after a June 29 ceasefire agreement in which Israeli agreed to economic concessions in return for Hamas ceasing violence on the southern border including incendiary balloon attacks. One week ago, 7,000 Gazans participated in the weekly March of Return riots that have been ongoing for over one year. Last Monday, the IDF uncovered a terrorist tunnel extending into Israel.