Israel halts Qatari funds to Gaza amid escalation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered to stop the scheduled transfer of Qatari-donated funds to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip this morning, after two violent incidents occurred on the Gaza border yesterday, prompted an escalation on Israel’s southern frontier. The unfolding events erupted when Gazan militants opened fire toward an IDF patrol near the security fence, prompting the Israeli military to launch a strike on a Hamas observation post. No injuries were reported in this incident.

Several hours later, hundreds of Palestinian rioters hurled rocks toward Israeli troops and attempted to breach the security fence into Israel. While the IDF troops attempted to deal with the violent rioters, an Islamist Palestinian sniper fired toward an Israeli officer that commanded the Israeli force. In what a military source classified to TV7 as a miracle, the Palestinian bullet hit the officer’s helmet, yet failed to penetrate it, which in effect saved the life of the IDF Paratroopers brigade commander. Medical teams confirmed to TV7 that the officer was classified as “in light condition.” A hospital spokesperson said that “He was treated in the surgical emergency room for a laceration to the head and was discharged.”

In response to the Palestinian sniper-fire, an IDF tank bombarded a Hamas observation post near the border security barrier. According to Palestinian medical sources, a Hamas militant was killed, while two others were severely wounded. A Hamas spokesperson told TV7 that the Islamist organization “holds Israel responsible for the outcomes of its ongoing aggression against the Gaza Strip,” and that “Hamas has the will and tools to defend the Palestinian people and protect their interests.”

Overnight, however, Israeli Air Force fighter-jets attacked several targets in the northern Gaza Strip, including a Hamas militant camp. A statement that was issued by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit noted that the attack was carried out in response for the incident in which an IDF officer sustained light injuries from a sniper who fired his shot out of Gaza. The statement further underscored that “The IDF views the Hamas terror organization as bearing sole responsibility for the incidents in and from the Gaza Strip.”

Meanwhile, the Security Coordinator office for Israel’s southern communities issued an announcement last night in which it called on the residents of the Gaza Periphery communities to monitor the developments and to prepare their bomb shelters in anticipation of a possible conflagration.