Israeli tank fires into Gaza after blast near soldiers

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Shortly after the attack, the IDF retaliated by attacking a Hamas base located just over the Gaza border, near where the explosion occurred.

The Israeli military announced in a statement on Saturday that it had struck an observation post belonging to the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, east of Khan Yunis city after an explosive device was detonated on an Israeli military patrol near the border between the occupied territories and the enclave.

Earlier in the day the army said "two soldiers were severely wounded, one moderately and one slightly" when an improvised explosive device blew up along the border fence with Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the incident "severe" and vowed to "respond accordingly".

Echoing the concern of other army officials, Israeli Army Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot last week warned the cabinet that the Gaza Strip could collapse due to the humanitarian situation.

The Hamas is accountable for this incident and its consequences, as well as everything happening in and from the Gaza Strip, above and below ground, said the Israeli army.

Israel holds the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas responsible for any fire coming from the blockaded coastal enclave.

But Israeli army spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, said there was no truth to the claim.

These specific military targets belonging to the Hamas organization were attacked, according to a statement issued by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Saturday evening.

The Gaza border area has generally been quiet since the 2014 war, but has seen an increase in violence since President Donald Trump's announcement in December recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The March 5 visit comes after a war of words between close allies Israel and the USA over settlements, and a scandal that has seen police recommend Netanyahu be indicted for graft.

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