Israeli border police officer Sgt. Bar-El Hadaria Shmueli remained in critical condition on Sunday after being shot to the head in Palestinian riots in the northern Gaza Strip a day earlier, according to Israeli media.
Shmueli, 21, of Be’er Yaacov, a sniper with the Southern District Border Police undercover unit, was shot dead at close range at the border fence, according to Kan new. He was evacuated to Soroka hospital, where doctors are fighting to save his life.
In response to the riots on Saturday evening, Israeli warplanes struck four Hamas weapons depots and production facilities, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
During the riots, which lasted about three hours, hundreds of Palestinians gathered near the border in northern Gaza, throwing explosives and firing at IDF forces, and attempting to cross the border, the IDF said. in a press release. Rioters also attempted to steal the weapon from an IDF soldier.
The IDF’s southern command has been bracing for border unrest since last week, increasing alert status and strengthening border police and special units stationed in the fence area, the IDF said.
The move came after Hamas threatened to renew violence against Israel, including arson and border riots, unless it was granted access to Qatari cash funds. Israel, backed by the Palestinian Authority, demands that these funds be sent by wire transfer, as a means of ensuring that the funds are spent on rebuilding civilian infrastructure in Gaza rather than on Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure.
The escalation is also part of a wider campaign of pressure by Hamas to force Israel to accept its terms of a long-term agreement to rebuild Gaza after the 11 days of fighting in May.
The United Nations and Qatar on Thursday reached an agreement under which millions of dollars will be transferred to needy families in Gaza, Kan news reported. However, the agreement does not deal with the reconstruction of Gaza.
Under the terms of the agreement, the money will be transferred from Qatar to the United Nations headquarters in New York, and from there to the banks in Ramallah, which will transfer the funds to the banks in the Gaza Strip. The United Nations Food Program will implement the actual distribution in Gaza, issuing special cards with which funds can be withdrawn. These cards will be distributed according to a list approved by the Israeli defense establishment, according to the report.
According to Palestinian affairs journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, writing in The Jerusalem Post, Hamas said it was happy with the UN-Qatar deal, but said it did not go far enough.
“Hamas expects more measures, such as reopening all border crossings and allowing all imports and exports to and from the Gaza Strip,” a Hamas source said, according to Toameh.
In response to Saturday’s events, the IDF reiterated that in Israel’s eyes Hamas bears full responsibility for what is happening in Gaza.
“Hamas continues to lead the Gaza Strip towards a policy of terrorism, while exploiting the civilian population. The Israeli army will continue to react strongly to attempted terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip and considers the terrorist organization Hamas to be responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip, ”the IDF said.
IDF soldier seriously injured in riot on Gaza border; Israel Hitting Hamas Terrorist Targets appeared first on JNS.org.