Five IDF soldiers were wounded near the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Thursday evening.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement that terrorists detonated an explosive device as IDF soldiers were working to blow up parts of the terror tunnel that was recently discovered by IDF soldiers, leading from Gaza into an Israeli kibbutz.
As the soldiers crossed the border fence, the device was detonated, wounding the five soldiers – one seriously, one moderately and three lightly. All five were taken by helicopter to the Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva.
The IDF responded by opening fire at terrorists who were in the area and, according to the IDF statement, IAF aircraft also targeted another terrorist tunnel in southern Gaza. Direct hits were identified.
Four local commanders of Hamas’s military wing were killed by tank fire according to Gaza sources cited, Friday morning, by Agence France Presse.
The news agency named them as Rabieh Barikeh and Khaled Abu Bakr, who died of his wounds during the night, as well as Mohammed al Qassas and Mohammed Daoud, whose bodies were discovered later.
Hamas TV reported Friday morning that Gaza allegedly fired 3 mortar shells into Israel during the incident. At least one of these has been confirmed to have landed in an open field, leaving no injuries.
Israeli news site Walla has also reported Friday morning that the Engineering Officer of the IDF’s Gaza Division, a Leut.-Colonel, is among the 5 injured during last night’s operation. He remains in Soroka hospital with light to moderate injuries.
Thursday’s incident comes several days after the IDF decided to stop providing individual soldier units to provide security for 13 communities along the Gaza and Sinai borders, and also in nine northern communities.
Alon Shuster, head of the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, said on Thursday night, following the Gaza incident, “Today, at the most unfortunate timing, the last soldier left the communities surrounding Gaza and the facts speak for themselves.”