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4 Israeli soldiers wounded near Gaza border

By AFP - Feb 17,2018 - Last updated at Feb 17,2018

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — An explosion at Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip wounded four Israeli soldiers on Saturday, the army said, adding it retaliated by targeting an observation post inside the Palestinian enclave.

An army statement said “two soldiers were severely wounded, one moderately and one slightly” in the explosion that took place near the border fence.

It was one of the most serious incidents on the border of the Hamas-ruled blockaded enclave since the Islamist movement and Israel fought a war in 2014.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion.

But army spokesman Jonathan Conricus blamed Hamas for the blast, in remarks on Twitter.

Conricus said Hamas regularly organises protests against Israel along the border and used a demonstration to plant an “IED [improvised explosive device] attached to a flag”, which then detonated.

“We hold Hamas responsible for all aggression from Gaza,” Conricus added.

An earlier army statement said an Israeli tank opened fire at Gaza after an “explosive device” detonated near soldiers along the border with the Palestinian enclave.

It said the tank targeted an “observation post” in southern Gaza in response to the “detonation of the explosive device adjacent to the security fence” where soldiers were on patrol.

Palestinian security sources said the explosion took place east of the city of Khan Yunis, causing no injuries on the Palestinian side.

Israel holds the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008, responsible for any fire coming from the blockaded coastal enclave.

Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since 2008, and the last conflict in 2014 was waged in part over tunnels from Gaza that were used to launch attacks.

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