September 26, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas-Led Riots on Israel-Gaza Border Prompt IDF Counterattack

September 26, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas-Led Riots on Israel-Gaza Border Prompt IDF Counterattack

Latest Developments

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on September 26 struck Hamas military posts in response to riots and attacks against Israeli soldiers at the Gaza border. This strike marks the fifth consecutive day of Israeli counterassaults against Hamas and other armed Palestinian organizations that seek to cause unrest at the border by attacking the security barrier. The armed Palestinians have used improvised explosive devices (IEDs), small arms fire, and incendiary-laden balloons.

Israeli media reported on September 26 that the United Nations envoy for peace in the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, had entered the Gaza Strip intending to reestablish calm. Israel communicated a message to Hamas via Wennesland declaring that the Erez crossing — vital for facilitating the movement of workers between Gaza and Israel — would reopen after a 12-day shutdown, provided that violent protests and attacks near the border fence end.

Expert Analysis

“Under the leadership of Hamas, Gaza has become a failed state. The terror organization invests in rockets, weapons, and terror tunnels, diverting much-needed resources from the people of Gaza. Hamas teaches children that the Jews are to blame for their misery and that there is no higher honor than to die a martyr. These Hamas-led riots along the Gaza border are Hamas’ attempt to deflect attention from their failures. The IDF is rightly holding Hamas accountable for the violence, which threatens Israeli communities near Gaza.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“Hamas is carrying out a predictable pattern of behavior by repeating violent actions taken during the March of Return riots in 2018. Although violence has been contained to isolated sections of the border area in recent weeks, even a single casualty on either side has the potential to ignite a widespread conflict between Israel and Hamas.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

2018 Border Riots

The latest Palestinian assault mirrors similar developments five years ago. In March 2018, Hamas and other terrorist groups based in the Gaza Strip executed a coordinated effort to launch attacks on the Israeli security fence as well as on IDF troops and Israeli communities along the border. These assaults persisted for over a year, leading to multiple brief skirmishes between the Israeli military and Palestinian terrorist organizations. Eventually, the ongoing violence ended due to the implementation of an agreement between Israel and Qatar in which Doha agreed to provide monthly aid to Gaza and later an arrangement with Egypt providing Gaza with resources such as fuel and basic building materials.

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