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IDF tank accidentally fired into Gaza

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A picture taken on March 15, 2019, shows an Israeli Merkava battle tank near the border with the Gaza Strip near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz in southern Israel. - Weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel border were called off on March 15 after a military escalation between the Jewish state and the Palestinian territory's Islamist rulers Hamas, organisers announced. The cancellation, the first of its kind in a year, came after Israel said its aircraft struck dozens of Hamas targets in Gaza overnight in response to rockets fired from the enclave, including at Tel Aviv. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)

An Israeli tank “accidentally” fired a shell into Gaza, the IDF said, adding it would launch research about the incident, the second accident involving unauthorized tank fire in a matter of weeks.

An abandoned structure was hit without causing casualties, according to a local report.

The unintended shelling came during a mission “to increase operational employment” near Gaza on Monday, the Israel Defense Forces reported in a statement, adding that “the incident is being investigated.”

An unconfirmed image by a photojournalist in Gaza, Ahmed Al-Maqadma, showed a wrecked structure with a square hole punched in its wall alongside a small pile of rubble. Al-Maqadma noted the building was an “abandoned house” east of Juhr al-Dik, a small village in central Gaza.

The shelling comes a few weeks after another “misunderstanding” near the Gaza border on November 21, when an IDF tank opened fire on a Hamas observation post without authorization. The Israeli army stated that the shelling was the result of a miscommunication “between commanders on the radio,” adding at the time that the shelling would be investigated. No casualties were reported in the earlier incident as well.