Gunfire from Israeli soldiers has detonated the load on an explosives-laden donkey walking alone toward their position.
The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) said the attack was organised by militants on the Gaza Strip.
The incident happened on Friday evening in the Rafah area.
Soldiers spotted the explosives-laden donkey approaching their position, the IDF said. The soldiers opened fire, causing the explosives to detonate.
“Sending an animal to its death to serve terrorist purposes may seem shocking, but last night certainly wasn’t the first time Palestinian terrorists adopted this despicable tactic,” the IDF said in a statement.
It said intelligence sources had alerted the defence force to plans by militants to strap explosives to animals and send them toward Israeli ground forces.
“This cruel incident is the most recent attempt by Gaza terror organizations to make such an abominable use of animals as explosives couriers,” the armed forces said.
“The IDF first encountered an animal-borne attack in June 1995, when a Palestinian militant rode an explosives-laden donkey cart toward an IDF position west of Khan Yunis and detonated the explosives.
“The terrorist and the donkey were killed, but the soldiers were left unscathed. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
“During the Second Intifada, Hamas and other terrorist organizations stepped up their exploitation of animals for the purposes of terror. In 2001, a terrorist rode a bomb-laden donkey cart toward an IDF position in the southern Gaza Strip and set detonated the charge.
“In 2003, a Palestinian terrorist strapped a bomb to a donkey and then exploded it remotely on the road between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion. No humans were injured in the attack.
“In June 2009, Palestinian terrorists approached the Karni crossing, located between Gaza and Israel, with several horses carrying mines and explosives. In May 2010, terrorists in Gaza detonated a donkey cart loaded with explosives near the border fence.”
The IDF said most of the attacks involved donkeys and horses pulling carts loaded with explosives. However, IDF soldiers in the field have reported multiple incidents where Hamas terrorists had strapped explosive belts to dogs.