Hundreds of Palestinians stormed Israel’s southern border in Hamas-led ‘Day of Rage’ riot resulting in a critically wounded IDF soldier. 21-year-old Barel Hadaria Shmueli from Beer Yaakov in central Israel was shot in the head at point-blank range by a Palestinian rioter on Saturday. Shmueli underwent surgery at Soroka hospital in Beersheba and is still in intensive care in a life-threatening condition.
Palestinian riots threaten southern border
Shmueli was serving in the IDF Border Patrol (Magav) division as a sniper in the elite undercover mista’arvim unit. He had taken up a position on the security wall separating Israel from Gaza and was using a small hole in the wall to protect his section when a Palestinian with a pistol ran up to the wall and fired several shots through the hole, hitting Shmueli.
Another angle of the incident on the Gaza border shows a Palestinian apparently shooting with a handgun through the hole in the border wall, before the others try to snatch the IDF soldier’s rifle. pic.twitter.com/ko69mHH4QW
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) August 21, 2021
Prayers are requested for the recovery of Shmueli by his father, Yossi. In Jewish tradition, such prayers for mercy are given in the name of the mother. In this case, supplicants should pray for the healing of Barel ben Nitza.
In response to the massive riot at the border, the IDF used non-lethal crowd control measures including tear gas and rubber bullets. Snipers with strict rules of engagement orders used small-caliber Ruger sniper rifles to cope with direct threats to the lives of soldiers.
In addition to Shmueli, the Hamas-run Gazan health ministry reported that 41 rioters were injured, two of them critically. Palestinian media showed videos of some rioters attempting to climb over the security barrier.
“Our mobilizing masses have come to announce that the path of the Sword of Jerusalem is renewed,” said Hamas’s Gaza deputy chief, Khalil al-Hayya, using the term for the fighting between Israel and Hamas in May in which over 4,600 rockets were fired at Israel.
Hamas called the riot in response to Israel’s reticence to allow funds from Qatar to reach the coffers of Hamas. On Thursday, an UN-brokered agreement allowed funds to reach Gazan families but Hamas did not call off the riot.
In response, the IDF carried out airstrikes against four Hamas weapons depots. The weapons depots were in close proximity to civilian structures and IDF videos show the IDF dropping small “door knock” explosives to warn residents.
מצורפים תצלומי אוויר של האתרים שהותקפו הלילה: pic.twitter.com/fnNMeBF84t
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) August 21, 2021
Hamas responded with heavy automatic weapons fire, some of which crossed the border and damaged Israeli homes in Sderot.
Hamas released a statement, mocking Israel for the airstrikes.
“As usual, the Zionist occupation, by bombing resistance sites, is seeking to cover up its own failure and dismay at the steadfastness and persistence of our people and their valiant resistance,” Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhum said in a statement.
Ra’am Chairman Mansour Abbas denied allegations that his party had pressured Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to refrain from responding to Hamas’s aggression on the southern border.
“Ra’am will not directly or indirectly harm state security,” Abbas said in an interview on Sunday. “We have a responsible dialogue with the prime minister and the alternate prime minister. If they did not respond or did not respond in Gaza, it is the discretion of the prime minister and those responsible for it – I did not talk to the prime minister on this issue. I focus on advancing the civil issues of Arab society.”
Before signing a coalition agreement to form a government led by Bennett, Abbas was a leader in the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement.
Two rockets were fired at southern Israel from Gaza last Monday, indicating heightened aggression from Hamas.