Hamas Claims Truce Restored but Israel Targets Military Outposts in Gaza with Its Tanks
IDF forces in staging areas around the Gaza Strip (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

An Israeli tank targeted Hamas’ military outpost in Gaza on Saturday morning in retaliation for a breach of the border fence, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. The IDF says "a number of suspects" crossed into Israel from northern Gaza, then returned to the enclave.

However, the shelling from the tank came hours after Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum announced early on Saturday morning that a truce deal, brokered by Egyptian and UN officials, was active from midnight local time on Friday. "We reached [an agreement] to return to the previous state of calm between the [Israeli] occupation and the Palestinian factions," Barhoum said.

The truce was achieved after days of violence which saw one Israeli soldier killed along with four Palestinian protesters. Hamas, the militant group that governs the coastal enclave, said in a Whatsapp message to journalists that three of the four men killed were members of its armed Qassam Brigades.

The IDF said that, in addition to the shooting incident, multiples explosives were thrown at Israeli soldiers during the unrest at the fence.

The Israeli Defence Force has yet to confirm the truce agreement, but the army said in a statement on Saturday that communities near Gaza could return to normal activity, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz. "At the end of an assessment by the southern command this morning it was decided to

maintain a full civilian routine in the communities close to the Gaza Strip," Haaretz quoted the statement as saying.

The IDF also said it had succeeded in eliminating a Hamas battalion's command and control capabilities, a drone warehouse, aerial defense systems and an underground factory, among other sites hit.

The latest exchange in violence follows the Palestinians protesting every Friday since March 30, demanding their right to return to the homes and land their families were expelled from 70 years ago.

Since the protests began, Israeli forces have killed more than 140 Palestinians in the coastal enclave and wounded over 16,000 people, according to health officials in Gaza.