Large number of Israeli soldiers entered the Gaza Strip to destroy tunnels used by Hamas terrorists
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Defence & Security News - Israel
|Sunday, July 20, 2014 11:13 AM|
|Large number of Israeli soldiers entered the Gaza Strip to destroy tunnels used by Hamas terrorists|
Large numbers of Ground Forces entered the Gaza Strip overnight between Saturday and Sunday as Israel expanded its operation against Hamas. The increased presence in Gaza is aimed at destroying Hamas infrastructure, the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) said.
IDF soldiers uncover tunnel used for terror in Gaza
On Saturday evening, a Hamas terrorist gunman, disguised as an IDF soldier, emerged from a terror tunnel which began in southern Gaza and opened fire on IDF forces. Sergeant Adar Barsano, 20, and Maj. (res.) Amotz Greenberg, 45, were killed by a group of Hamas terrorists who infiltrated Israel via a tunnel from Gaza. The terrorists were disguised as IDF soldiers and opened fire on forces stationed by a nearby kibbutz.
Earlier Saturday, 21-year-old Second Lieutenant Bar Rahav, an IDF combat engineer from Ramat Yishai, was killed when an anti-tank missile was fired towards his paratrooper position.
Five Israeli soldiers were killed Saturday in battle in the Gaza Strip, bringing to seven the number of Israeli fatalities over the course of the operation, including two civilians who died in rocket attacks. Eight soldiers have been wounded. At least 130 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its ground incursion last week, raising the death toll in Gaza to 240 since the beginning of the operation 13 days ago, including at least 76 children and 36 women.
The Israel Defense Forces uncovered at least 40 tunnels in Gaza territory over the weekend and arrested 13 Hamas militants, who have been brought to Israel for interrogation. A senior IDF officer said over the weekend the vast majority of the tunnels that Israeli troops are currently trying to locate and neutralize have already been attacked from the air.
The goal for the troops on the ground, he said, is to ensure the tunnels cannot be made operational again in the near future.
IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner explained that Hamas is feeling the pressure trying to defend its tunnel infrastructure. Majority of the ground offensive is centered in the northern Gaza Strip where the tunnels are more prevalent.
IDF Spokesman Lerner said that since the start of the ground operation, 70 terrorists have been killed. Official figures indicate that 357 Palestinians have died in Gaza and seven Israelis.
Since the beginning of the ground offensive, 190 rockets have been fired upon Israel, with 63 of those intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
A picture released by the IDF shows weapons caught inside an underground tunnel used by Hamas terrorists from Gaza on July 19, 2014 (Photo credit: IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)