Jerusalem – An Israeli special forces unit, working in conjunction with the Israeli Paratroopers, operating near the U.N.-run el-Bureij Arab refugee camp in Gaza, blew up a tunnel Tuesday night that Israeli intelligence had determined likely would be used to a kidnap Israelis in the immediate future.
One Israeli soldier was wounded in the course of the operation, and one Hamas member was killed. Three other Hamas members and a female bystander were injured.
This was the most significant Israeli army operation in Gaza since the June truce agreement was declared.
Israeli troops, operating under air cover provided by helicopter gunshipsâ€¨and unmanned aerial vehicles, made an incursion some 250 feet past the border fence into the Gaza Strip in response to the intelligence reports. The troops arrived at the house that hosted the entrance to the tunnel and surrounded it.
Exchanges of fire then ensued, and the Israeli troops came under mortar-shell fire. The Israeli army then blew up the house. Military sources said that the force of the explosion proved that the house had been booby-trapped.â€¨
After the Israeli army raid into Gaza, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) attacked a terror cell, firing mortar shells at the Israeli army troops who were operating in Gaza. The air strike took place near the Gaza town of Khan Yunis. An Israeli Army spokesman said that five armed men were killed in the attack. Meanwhile, at 10 p.m. Israeli time, the IAF located and killed a team of five Gazans who were preparing to fire a missile into the Western Negev region of Israel.
A Night In The Shelterâ€¨
A short time after Israeli troops made their incursion into Gaza, local security coordinators instructed the residents to remain in protected areas should the Palestinians launch Qassam rockets and mortar shells.
The heightened state of alert was maintained throughout the night and, at the time, seemed likely to continue throughout yesterday.
The state of alert in Sderot, Israel went into effect as well. In all, Palestinians fired about 55 missiles from Gaza over the past two days. While there were no injuries reported, the two missiles that landed near a supermarket in Sderot caused panic and havoc for the people lined up at the supermarket who scattered for cover.