Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
A ball of fire and smoke rises during Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, August 16, 2020.

Israeli aircraft struck Hamas terrorist targets in Gaza late Saturday night after a day in which hundreds of Hamas-led Gazans burned tires, hurled explosives and opened gunfire.

In one case an Israeli Border Guard officer was shot by a Gazan at point-blank range through a hole in the security wall. The IDF is also investigating, however, whether sniper fire was aimed from a distance at the position of the officer who was involved in the Israeli preparations for the riots at the border.


The wounded officer was taken by helicopter to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, where he was listed in critical condition after surviving emergency surgery, according to Channel N12 News.

Earlier this week Gaza terrorists fired a rocket at the border city of Sderot in southern Israel. The projectile was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system, triggered because the rocket was on a trajectory to reach a populated area.

Israel allegedly sent Egyptian mediators a message saying the time for restraint is over, Arab sources said.

The Bader site in western Gaza, the Mashtal site, the Arin site in central Gaza and other terrorist positions were targeted by Israeli fighter aircraft and UAVs.

Hamas’ Badr site was reportedly hit with five missiles, Arab media reported. Those strikes were followed with what residents said were huge explosions in central Gaza.

Residents in southern Israel said they heard several explosions. The IDF confirmed after midnight that at least four Hamas sites used for the storage and production of weapons in Gaza were targeted by the Israel Air Force.

Anti-aircraft machine gun fire was aimed by Hamas operatives at Israeli Air Force aircraft flying overhead in northern Gaza, according to local sources.

In Sderot damage to a residential building and the yard of a private house was reported from the anti-aircraft machine gun fire aimed at Israeli aircraft by Gaza terrorists.

A Sderot resident who became frightened and ran to seek protection in a bomb shelter upon hearing the gunfire, was injured as a result and required medical treatment, according to Israeli journalist Almog Boker.

The IDF announced that its Gaza Division is being reinforced with additional troops, as a new military escalation appeared likely.

Gaza terrorist organizations – at least two of which are generously funded, equipped and trained by Iran – evacuated their facilities late Saturday, anticipating military retaliation from Israel after a day of violence at the border.

Terrorist groups who evacuated their facilities showed their experience in such matters, remembering air strikes that came after breaching Israeli government tolerance for attacks on Israel.

Regional efforts supported by Israel in the attempt to calm tensions in Gaza had included entry of dual-purpose materials such as concrete and tires for the first time in weeks.

A deal was approved by Israel and Qatar with the United Nations to resume monthly Qatari cash grants to poor families in the enclave.

Hamas showed its thanks by ratcheting up mass attacks at the Israeli border with Gaza.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.