Army probing rogue IDF tank fire on Hamas post after rocket strike

The Israel Defense Forces launched an investigation after one of its tanks opened fire at a Hamas observation post on Saturday night without permission, apparently in response to a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip earlier in the evening.

Just after 9:30 p.m., terrorists in the Strip fired a rocket at southern Israel, striking an empty warehouse and causing damage to the structure but no direct injuries.

Shortly after the attack, Palestinian media reported that an IDF tank had opened fire at a Hamas position on the northern border of the Gaza Strip. Residents of southern Israel also reported hearing the sound of tank fire near the border. The military initially denied the reports, saying it was unaware of such an attack.

On Sunday morning, however, the IDF confirmed that a tank had shelled a Hamas position on the border without having received permission to do so. The military launched a probe into the matter, an IDF spokesperson said.

In addition, the military said it was investigating why the Iron Dome missile defense system did not intercept the rocket that was heading toward a populated area, albeit one that was empty at the time.

IDF policy limits the firing of interceptor missiles to incidents in which projectiles are calculated to be heading for populated areas where they could cause injury or damage. Rockets headed for open fields are not generally shot down.

Flames are seen following an Israeli air strike in the town of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, early on November 22, 2020. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

In response to the rocket attack from the Gaza Strip, Israeli fighter jets and helicopters carried out airstrikes on Hamas military installations in the enclave in the predawn hours of Sunday morning, the army said.

The targets included “two rocket manufacturing sites, underground infrastructure and a training facility for the Hamas terror group’s naval force,” the IDF said.

There were no immediate reports of Palestinian casualties.

No terror group in Gaza immediately took responsibility for the attack. The IDF said it held Hamas, which rules the Strip, responsible for the rocket fire.

Though Israel is involved in ongoing talks with Hamas regarding a long-term ceasefire agreement, recent weeks have seen an uptick in violence emanating from Gaza.

This picture taken from Gaza City shows lightning flashing over buildings near the flare of a rocket launched by Palestinian terrorists during a thunderstorm on November 15, 2020. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

Last Sunday, two rockets were fired at central Israel from the Gaza Strip. The two projectiles struck open areas, causing neither injury nor damage.

The Hamas terror group sent messages to Israel that claimed the rockets were fired accidentally, set off by lightning during a thunderstorm, an explanation that the IDF has apparently accepted.

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