Israel suffers first casualty of ground incursion; Soldiers exchange fire with militants as units seize ground in Gaza; At least 19 terrorists killed, two soldiers wounded.
Israeli infantry soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip unearthed eight tunnels in the first day of the IDF’s ground incursion into the Hamas-ruled enclave, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said on Friday.
The military released pictures of the tunnels on its Twitter account. Israel has stated that it seeks to destroy Hamas’ network of tunnels that are used to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.
The tunnels were discovered by soldiers in the Paratroopers Brigade, according to the army. In one instance, IDF troops exchanged fire with a Palestinian gunman, wounding him. The gunman was subsequently rushed to Soroka Medical Center for treatment.
“It took Hamas years to plan the tunnel attack on Kibbutz Sufa,” the source added, referring to an attempt Thursday by Hamas to send 13 heavily armed terrorists to the kibbutz to go on a killing spree, before being intercepted by the IDF.
The air force hit 103 targets overnight between Thursday and Friday, including 20 underground rocket launchers, and 6 terrorist headquarters. Since the start of the operation, the IAF struck 2,150 targets, including 1,160 underground launchers, 200 command and control centers, nine training camps, and 43 Hamas regime buildings.
The IAF also struck rocket launching squads as they were preparing to fire into Israel, the source added.
Hamas responded with rocket fire on several Israeli areas. In some cases overnight, the IAF struck areas used to fire on Israel immediately, as well as with artillery. “We are directing our firepower at operatives, tunnels, and infrastructure,” the source explained.
The IDF has been authorized by the cabinet to call up a further 18,000 reservists, opening the door to planning the next stage in the operation, the source said.
Meanwhile, he added, “very large intelligence capabilities are being activated, and new targets are being acquired.”
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
via The Jerusalem Post