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Hamas militant killed by Israeli fire after soldier hurt

AFP  |  Gaza City 

Israeli tank shelling killed a militant along the border on Tuesday as responded to gunfire that wounded one of its soldiers, officials said.

Those incidents and another exchange of fire earlier in the day signalled a rise in tensions as blocked aid money to from over border unrest.

Mohammed al-Nabaheen, 24, was killed by tank fire while two other people were hurt, a said.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules Gaza, confirmed he was a member of its armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

The said it had targeted a observation post after a soldier was lightly wounded when a bullet struck his helmet.

In a statement, it said an initial investigation found "an assailant fired at troops" during a riot that included rock-hurling.

"A bullet struck the helmet of an officer, lightly injuring him," it added, referring to the Defence Forces.

A picture published by the on showed the soldier's damaged helmet.

Earlier Tuesday, the said shots were also fired at troops in a separate incident.

In response a tank targeted a military post without reports of any

An informal truce between Hamas and Israel had brought relative calm to the border in recent weeks.

But there were warnings of another escalation since Israel has held up the latest cash transfer from Gulf state to Gaza, set to take place under the truce.

The payments are controversial in Israel, where they have sparked opposition from right-wing activists and politicians.

is campaigning for re-election in April 9 polls.

Qatar's to Gaza said Monday that the USD 15 million (13 million euros) in cash, to pay the salaries of Hamas civil servants in the enclave, was expected to be delivered via Israel this week, possibly on Wednesday.

But after the latest violence, an Israeli said on condition of anonymity that Netanyahu had decided not to allow the transfer on Wednesday.

Israel's permission is required since the cash must be delivered via its territory.

Hamas is labelled a terrorist organisation by the and the European Union, and banks are hesitant to make the transfer.

The payment would be the third of six planned tranches, totalling USD 90 million, in connection with the truce.

Israel has also allowed deliveries of Qatari-financed fuel to the blockaded enclave to help ease a

Mass protests and clashes erupted on the Gaza-Israel border in March last year.

The weekly protests have been calling for Palestinian refugees in Gaza to be able to return to their former homes now inside Israel.

Israel accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to carry out violence. At least 244 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March, the majority during protests and clashes. Others have died in airstrikes or shelling.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period, one by a Palestinian sniper and another during a botched special forces operation inside Gaza.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 23 2019. 01:10 IST