Palestinian shot dead after allegedly opening fire on Israeli forces near Gaza
A Palestinian was killed by Israeli troops in southern Israel near the besieged Gaza Strip early on Thursday after he reportedly opened fire on them, Israel's military said.
Three Israeli soldiers were wounded during the firefight, while an Israeli tank targeted a Hamas military post in Gaza after the incident, which began at around 2am (23.00 GMT).
The military said an army officer was moderately wounded and two soldiers were lightly injured by gunfire from the Palestinian, who entered Israel after crossing past the Israeli separation fence in the Khan Yunis area of the southern Gaza Strip.
Army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said they believed the man had acted alone.
"Our current assumption is - and this doesn't look likely to change - is that he did not act, he was not sent, on an attack mission, but rather that he did this attempted attack on his own," the spokesman told journalists.
Conricus said the man was armed with a Kalashnikov rifle and grenades.
He threw at least one grenade and was killed by Israeli soldiers who scrambled to the area in response, Conricus said.
Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza, did not give an immediate comment, but a security source in the strip told AFP the gunman was a member of the movement.
Tensions have been high in Gaza since regular protests began there in March 2018 as part of the Great March of Return, demanding for an end to the 12-year Israeli siege of the small Palestinian territory and the implementation of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
At least 297 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza by Israeli fire, the majority during demonstrations. Seven Israelis have also been killed during the same time span.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.