Israeli tanks shelled Hamas positions in Gaza in the early hours of Sunday, after rocket fire from the latter, the Israel Defence Forces said. The forces said its tanks hit “a number of positions belonging to the Hamas terror group”, The Times of Israel reported.
Israeli troops killed four Palestinians near the border on Saturday, following which five rockets were fired into Israel, AP reported. The Palestinians were part of protests to mark the first anniversary of the “March of Return” demonstrations. The demonstrations last year had demanded that Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to their lands.
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said that three Palestinians, all aged 17, were killed during the protests on Saturday, while 300 were injured. Another was shot and killed in the early morning on Saturday when he approached the border fence.
Hamas had earlier pledged to keep the demonstrators at a safe distance from the fence, and actively attempted to do so during the protests, the Israeli Defence Forces said. However, some protestors lobbed grenades and explosives toward the security fence, and threw rocks and burning tyres at security forces.
On March 25, seven Israelis were injured when a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, struck their village north of Tel Aviv city. The incident caused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel his Washington trip and return to Israel.
The same day, United States President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, an area seized from Syria in 1967.
Under an Egyptian plan, Israel will offer economic incentives to Gaza in return for calm, amid attempts to de-escalate tensions. Israel is likely to open border crossings in the Gaza Strip on Sunday and again permit fishing opposite the Gaza shoreline, Haaretz reported.