Palestinians burn tires during the 'March of Return' demonstration along the Israeli border near Rafah, Gaza. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Exchange of Fire along Gaza Border Kills Hamas Man

A Hamas member was killed and three Israel Defense Forces soldiers, one of them an officer, were wounded during an exchange of fire along the Gaza Strip border before dawn on Thursday. According to a preliminary IDF investigation, at 2 a.m., the troops identified a Palestinian approaching the security fence and subsequently crossing into Israeli territory. The suspect was apparently wearing a uniform and carrying grenades and a Kalashnikov assault rifle. He opened fire at Israeli troops deployed to the area. “Normal course of action was taken by troops after an infiltration [was] detected, an action that occurs a lot,” an Israeli military spokesman said, adding that “it is still unclear whether the Israeli force that arrived at the scene realized that the suspect was armed.” The violence shattered the relative calm restored along the frontier as Israel and Hamas continue to hash out the details of a potential long-term cease-fire following numerous deadly flare-ups over the past year. The latest incident came after the IDF completed one of its largest drills in the southern region since the 50-day war with Hamas in 2014. Thereafter, military officials declared that the next conflict would be much shorter although it would deal a devastating blow to both Hamas and the Gaza-based Iranian proxy, Islamic Jihad.

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