A team of Hamas terrorists attempted to infiltrate Israel late Monday evening via a terror tunnel. IDF forces thwarted the attack. Five IDF soldiers were killed during the fighting.
The attack, which took place south of Kibbutz Nahal Oz near the Gaza Strip, is believed to have been carried out with the intent of abducting Israeli civilians and soldiers.
Channel 2 reported that the terrorists attempted to drag back a body of one of the dead IDF soldiers back to Gaza but failed to carry out the abduction.
According to an initial investigation by the IDF, it is believed that four to seven gunmen emerged from the tunnel, Walla! Reported. The tunnel they used was already known to IDF forces.
The Hamas terrorists surfaced some 150 meters inside Israel and opened fire on IDF forces with an anti-tank missile. The forces, who were congregated in barracks, were directly hit and four soldiers were instantly killed.
A lookout tower next to the barracks spotted the Hamas terrorists advancing towards the IDF position and tried to drag away one of the injured soldiers. The soldiers opened fire on the terrorists, killing at least one gunman. The remaining terrorists fled.
Immediately after the attack, the IDF conducted a wide sweep on both the Israeli end and Gaza end of the tunnel, searching for the terrorists. Soldiers searching the area found a rifle and various missiles that were left behind by the terrorists in their haste to escape back to Gaza.
The IDF said the tunnel likely originated in the Gaza neighborhood of Shuja’iya, a known Hamas stronghold.
The army has released the names of the five soldiers killed in the attack. They are Sgt. Danel Kedimi, 18, from Tsofim; Sgt. Barkey Ishai Shor, 21, from Jerusalem; Sgt. Sagi Erez, 19, from Kiryat Ata; Sgt. Dor Dery, 18, from Jerusalem; and Sgt. Nadav Raimond, 19, from Shadmot Dvora.
In a separate incident on Monday afternoon, four IDF soldiers were killed during a mortar attack from Gaza. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in the Eshkol Region along the Gaza border.
Ten people were injured in the attack, several of them in life-threatening condition. The Iron Dome missile defense system and rocket alarms do not function when short-range mortar shells are fired.
The slain soldiers are SSgt. Eliav Eliyahu Haim Kahlon, 22, of Safed; Cpl. Meidan Maymon Biton, 20, of Netivot; Cpl. Niram Cohen, 20, of Tiberias; and SSgt. Adi Briga, 23, of Beit Shikma.
The IDF also released the name of a fifth soldier who was killed on Monday in a gunfight in the southern Gaza Strip.
Staff-Sgt. Moshe Davino, 20, from Jerusalem, was killed by anti-tank fire in Khan Yunis.
As of Tuesday morning, 53 IDF soldiers have died during Operation Protective Edge.