Two remotely activated improvised explosive devices (IED) were set off in quick succession early Thursday morning, approximately 100 yards from Gaza border fence within the Gaza Strip.
IDF troops who had been patrolling the Gaza border fence were at a significant distance from the points of explosion, and no injuries were reported.
“Two bombs were detonated within a minute of one another at a distance of 100 meters from the forces,” an IDF official said in a statement to the media.
“Following an identification of an observation post, we are looking into whether a anti-tank rocket was also fired at the soldiers.”
Initial reports claimed there were three or four explosions. The IDF however, is also investigating the possibility that a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) was fired at the IDF troops who were patrolling the fence.
Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said there was minimal damage to the IDF vehicle targeted in the attack. “Basically just to the paintwork,” he said.
Nevertheless, the IDF considered the incident to be “very serious” and responded with tanks striking Hamas targets in the northern Gaza Strip.
It was unclear when the explosives were planted, but Conricus noted that Wednesday night was foggy and there had been several riots by Gazan civilians this week. If the explosives had been placed by terrorists while using the riot as a distraction, this will be the third such attack in recent weeks in which Gazan civilians acted as cover for terrorists who placed IED’s near the security fence.
In February, two IDF soldiers were seriously wounded and two others, moderately and lightly wounded by an IED placed under a Palestinian flag that was hung on the border fence during one such riot.
This recent series of attacks tasks the IDF with keeping rioting civilians away from the fence in a manner that most effectively avoids civilian casualties. Conricus said the army was still “evaluating best practices” for responding to riots that take place along the border fence.
Last week, the IDF used a drone to drop tear gas on one such riot.
“In response, we attacked five targets in Gaza. We don’t know who is responsible for the attack. We will act sharply against attempts to turn the protesters into a cover for terror activities,” the IDF official said.
It was unclear from reports in Gaza, whether there were any casualties from the Israeli retaliation.