IDF Ground Op, Day 2: 'Hamas Has Taken a Serious Hit'

IDF Ground Op, Day 2: 'Hamas Has Taken a Serious Hit'

Tel Aviv, Israel — Midday Saturday, a Hamas terror cell attempted to infiltrate Israel through a tunnel network in the Gaza Strip. They were met by Israeli forces, who reportedly exchanged fire with the jihadis and pushed them back underground. 

Four IDF soldiers were wounded after an anti-tank missile was fired at their position. A Hamas militant was killed in the exchange. Hamas had bragged earlier that its operatives managed to get behind “enemy lines.” The IDF published photos of the weapons carried by the Hamas infiltrators. Israel’s Channel 10 News said there were reports that the Hamas terrorists were wearing IDF uniforms during the raid.

Jihadi sits in Gaza tunnel (Reuters)

Separately, a rocket attack killed an Israeli Bedouin civilian near Dimona, Israel, Saturday. The IDF blames Hamas for the man’s death. Last week, a Hamas spokesman said that their rockets were designed only to target Jews.

Egypt said it has no plans to rework its ceasefire proposal between Israel and Hamas. The latter group has rejected the plan. “It provides the needs of all sides, and we will continue offering it, and we hope to get their support as soon as possible,” said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

In the almost 40 hours since the ground operation began, the IDF says it has attacked 310 separate terror targets. Seventy Palestinians have been killed since Thursday. A senior IDF officer said, “In the day and a half of the maneuver, there is significant damage to Hamas’ tunnel array.” He said the tunnels “branch out extensively, and all of them extend beyond the [border] fence. We are now exposing the path of the tunnels, ahead of their demolition. These tunnels are an underground offensive network,” said the officer. “Hamas has taken a serious hit, both in terms of its rocket capabilities and in terms of the tunnels. We can’t promise to eliminate the entire tunnel threat, though we aim to maximize our achievements.”

Hamas chairman and reported billionaire Khaled Mashal remains defiant, saying his jihadi group will not agree to a ceasefire until Israel lifts the military blockade of Gaza and frees Hamas prisoners in Israel.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has called for an “urgent” ceasefire. “The ceasefire is an urgent imperative. … The absolute priority is a ceasefire, but it must guarantee a lasting truce,” he said.