Operation Protective Edge began its 10th day with an attempt by Hamas to commit a huge terror attack by infiltrating a civilian community via an enormous tunnel network with the aim of either kidnapping or murdering Israeli civilians or soldiers. Unfortunately for the terrorists, the IDF were waiting for them, their plan was foiled and most of them were killed.
The Israeli army thwarted a large-scale infiltration attempt along the Gaza border, during which 13 armed Palestinians emerged from a tunnel on the Israeli side of the border at dawn Thursday, an army spokesperson said.
The spokesperson described the attack as in line with a series of other thwarted attacks over the past 10 days of warfare, including two infiltration attempts from the sea near Kibbutz Zikim, a tunnel near Kerem Shalom, and a drone attack earlier this week.
The IDF action that stopped the infiltration attempt before it was sprung “was obviously a huge success,” said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.
The gunmen, he said, emerged from the tunnel early Thursday some 250 meters inside Israel. Lying flat on the ground, in an open area two kilometers from Kibbutz Sufa in the Eshkol region, the 13 armed men were spotted by what Lerner termed “different sensors.”
Realizing that they had been discovered, they attempted to run back underground but were struck by Israeli aircraft. Lerner said some had been hit but he could not state how many.
The tunnel is part of a network of underground channels, laboriously dug, as offensive lanes into Israel. In June 2006 two Israeli soldiers were killed in an ambush that began via a tunnel in the same region, and a third, Gilad Shalit, was captured and taken back to Gaza. His exchange, five and a half years later, for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, is considered one of Hamas’s crowning achievements.
Hours after the tunnel attack was thwarted, the IDF published footage of the incident:
The rocket salvo was aimed first at the south and then over the entire center of the country. My children in the Shomron said they could hear the sirens from those areas under attack because they were so concentrated. They also faintly heard the booms of the rockets and Iron Dome. I can assure you those booms were not faint in this part of the country! Once again our building shook. But still, we cannot complain when we receive one rocket every day or two. To think that the residents of the south live through this experience 24/7, and have suffered it for years on end is almost too difficult to comprehend.
Explosions were heard in the skies over greater Tel Aviv on Thursday morning as Palestinian rocket launchers fired a fresh barrage of projectiles at towns and suburbs in the Sharon region.
One rocket was intercepted over the greater Tel Aviv and Sharon district and one rocket fell in the area.
Rocket sirens were sounded in highly populated suburbs of Tel Aviv, including Kfar Sava, Ra’anana, Petah Tikva, Kiryat Ono, and Bnei Brak.
The latest salvo came just after terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched a trickle of rocket fire at southern Israel on Thursday morning ahead of a temporary cease-fire set to take effect at 10 a.m.
Four rockets fired from the Gaza Strip toward Beersheba exploded in open territory on Thursday morning.
Earlier in the morning the Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted two rockets over Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi. Three rockets also fell in open area in Kiryat Malachi, and the Eshkol and Ashkelon Coast regional councils on Thursday morning.
And true to my prediction from yesterday, Hamas have already violated the truce with a couple of isolated mortar rounds. This is their standard modus operandi – just fire a “little trickle” of rockets or mortars, little enough to make Israel seem unreasonable in reacting, but in fact outrageous and an utter violation of the truce.
How long will the quiet hold? Why don’t you go to my poll at the end of the previous post and make a guess?