What Hamas claimed to be a live-fire exercise that sparked a fight between the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, and Hamas's military wing, the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, has resulted in two Palestinian deaths.
Hamas was allegedly practicing a live-fire exercise when two shots were fired at Israeli soldiers which sparked retaliation from the Israel Defense Forces. According to the IDF, they retaliated with tank fire, but Palestinian sources said it was a drone strike.
The IDF tweeted a video that showed the first two shots fired by Hamas and then cuts to a clip with a tank. However, the video’s authenticity was not able to be verified from an outside source, according to Reuters.
Raw footage: Hamas terrorists shooting at IDF troops from an outpost in the Gaza Strip pic.twitter.com/3ybzw8w3jW— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 7, 2018
The attacks between the two defense forces resulted in the deaths of two Palestinians, Ahmed Murjan and Abdel-Hafez al-Silawi, both 23 years old and part of the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades.
Hamas officials released a statement condemning the “latest Israeli attack on Gaza Strip” which they described as “deliberate” and “a serious aggression on Gaza.”
“Hamas will not allow the Israeli Occupation to impose a new reality by targeting resistance security sites and members without paying a price in return and the Palestinian resistance has the capability to repulse the Israeli aggression,” the statement reads.
Both the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships met with their own teams in days prior to this attack to discuss how they would respond were the other to instigate an attack. Following their meeting, the Israeli cabinet said, “The IDF is prepared for any scenario.”
Since the violent protests began in March where the Palestinian resistance started sending inflamed balloons across the border to Israel, 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.