Tensions remain high along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip after Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) targeted suspected Hamas positions in the region on Wednesday, July 25. IDF artillery hit seven Hamas military posts after a Palestinian sniper opened fire on IDF soldiers along the border, moderately wounding one person. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, three Palestinians were killed in the artillery strikes near the city of Gaza. As of Thursday, July 26, it is unclear if the tenuous July 21 ceasefire between the IDF and Palestinians along the border is still in effect.
Additional clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters are possible over the Israel-Gaza border in the near-term. Continuing Palestinian protests are also expected along the Israel-Gaza border in the coming weeks.
The ceasefire was arranged on July 21 after an Israeli tank fired on a suspected Hamas position in the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, the tank was firing on Palestinians who had trespassed into Israeli territory. Cross-border clashes on July 20 left at least four Palestinians (including three Hamas fighters) and one Israeli soldier dead. Tensions have escalated along the Israel-Gaza border in recent days due to Palestinians in Gaza firing rockets into Israeli territory and launching incendiary balloons from Gaza to burn agricultural land in Israel, prompting a severe Israeli response.
In addition, a spike in tensions and cross-border incidents has been observed in Israel and the Palestinian Territories in the wake of US President Donald Trump's December 2017 announcement that the US would officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital - a departure from the previous US and international position of neutrality on the status of the city claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians - and would move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The new embassy was officially opened on May 14.
Individuals present in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to avoid all protests or other public gatherings due to the high risk of violence and to monitor developments to the situation. Due to the underlying terrorist threat, travelers in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities. Some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.