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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Israeli jets attack Gaza after 'infiltration attempt'

The Israeli attack came a day after suspects crossed the northern Gaza border fence, leaving 'explosive devices'

Palestinians gather at the site of a protest on April 8, 2018, on the Israel-Gaza border east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Said Khatib / AFP
Palestinians gather at the site of a protest on April 8, 2018, on the Israel-Gaza border east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Said Khatib / AFP

Israeli fighter jets targeted a Hamas "military target" in northern Gaza on Monday in response to Palestinians infiltrating the border and laying bombs the previous day, the army claimed.

Palestinian security sources in Gaza said the Israeli strikes hit a base in Jabalia belonging to Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, and farmland near Beit Lahia, causing damages but no injuries.

The Israeli attack came a day after suspects crossed the northern Gaza border fence, leaving "explosive devices" that were found by the army.

The border fence between the Palestinian enclave and Israel has become the scene of mass Gaza demonstrations in which Israelis killed demonstrators.

Israel has faced mounting questions over its use of live fire after 10 days of protests and clashes along the Gaza Strip border.

On Monday, the Gaza health ministry said Marwan Qudeih, 45, who was wounded by Israeli fire east of Khan Yunis on March 30, died of his wounds.

His death brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since then to 31. Out of that number, 26 were killed during the protests at the Gaza -Israel border

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Israel says it opens fire when necessary to stop damage to the border fence, infiltrations and attempted attacks.

It alleges Hamas, the movement that runs the Gaza Strip and with which it has fought three wars since 2008, is seeking to use the protests as cover for to carry out violence.

"The IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] views with great severity the Hamas terror organisation endeavours to turn the security fence parameter into a combat zone while attempting to damage security and defence infrastructure," the army said on Monday.

Human rights groups have harshly criticised Israeli soldiers' actions, and Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to troops.

On Sunday, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she intended to determine whether there was enough evidence to launch a full-blown investigation into any alleged crimes committed by Israel or Hamas.

Thousands of Palestinians have protested along the Gaza -Israel border as part of a series of demonstrations called by Hamas. The protests are meant to last until May 15, which marks the day after the anniversary of the official establishment of Israel and 70 years since the Nakba — the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians.