Jerusalem: The Israeli army said its troops shot dead four heavily armed Palestinians on the Gaza border early yesterday, alleging one of them had managed to cross and throw a grenade at soldiers.
Separately, security forces said they had arrested two Palestinians suspected of killing an off-duty Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank earlier this week.
There have been frequent clashes along the Gaza border since the Palestinians began organising regular mass protests there in March 2018.
But yesterday’s exchange was unusual due to the weaponry the Israeli army said was involved on the Palestinian side.
They “were equipped with AK-47 assault rifles, RPG grenade launchers and hand grenades,” an army statement said.
A spokeswoman said the army opened fire after one of them scaled the barrier and hurled a grenade at the soldiers.
No Israeli casualties were reported.
Army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said the four Palestinians were all wearing “uniforms” – without elaborating – and were equipped with food and a medical kit as well as the rifles.
A Hamas statement condemned Israel’s killing of the four Palestinians as a “crime”.
Meanwhile, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas toured the Jalazone camp in the occupied West Bank, official media announced, in a rare visit to a refugee camp.
He was flanked by prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh and Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat, official news agency Wafa said.
Abbas reportedly met local residents and officials, and posted several pictures.