Protesters gather at a demonstration along the border with Israel east of Gaza City.

ByKassy Dillon

 

Earlier today, an Israeli Defense soldier was shot and killed by a Palestinian sniper on the Gaza border.

The incident comes amid an escalation of tensions at the border Friday. According to the IDF, during the so-called “peaceful protests” at the border between the Hamas-led protesters and Israel, shots were fired at IDF troops.

“Today an IDF combat soldier was killed during operational activity near the southern Gaza Strip,” the IDF said in a statement on Twitter Friday. “A terrorist squad shot at IDF troops and the IDF soldier was severely injured. He later succumbed to his wounds. His family has been notified.”

The IDF expresses its heartfelt condolences, and will continue to support the family

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 20, 2018

The IDF also says explosives were hurled during the riots. In response, the Israeli military conducted strikes against dozens of Hamas military posts with tanks and aircraft.

The IDF says the targets consisted of weaponry warehouses, equipment storage, training facilities, observation posts, command and control rooms, the battalion’s operation room, the battalion commander’s office, and other military infrastructure. In all, the military says they hit 60 sites in three Hamas compounds.

The IDF struck 60 sites in 3 Hamas battalion compounds. The targets included weapon manufacturing sites, a shaft to a tunnel network, a factory used for underground infrastructure manufacturing, a UAV warehouse, military operations room, training facilities, and observation posts pic.twitter.com/uTCxAyg2By

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 20, 2018

Hamas responded by conducting three rocket launches at Israel, two of which were reportedly intercepted by the IDF’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

According to the Times of Israel, Israelis living in the Gaza Envelope were told to stay close to bomb shelters and to avoid gathering in large numbers for Friday evening prayers in unprotected rooms due to the threat of rocket attacks.