Four Israeli soldiers remained in a Be’er Sheva hospital Sunday in serious and moderate condition, a day after they were injured by a bomb planted by Gaza Arab terrorists along the Gaza border fence. The attack was followed by Israeli retaliation, while Gaza Arab terrorists fired missiles at Israeli targets, with one rocket landing on the roof of a house in Kibbutz Sha’ar Hanegev – which, b’chasdei Shamayim, did not explode. No one was injured in the incident, but several residents of the house were hospitalized as suffering from shock.
IDF forces hit 18 Hamas terror targets in Gaza overnight Motzoei Shabbos, hitting warehouses, military installations, and destroying a terror tunnel that was under construction in northern Gaza. Israeli planes and tanks hit the targets located throughout Gaza. The Red Alert warning system sounded numerous times overnight Motzoei Shabbos in communities in the Gaza border area, as well as in Ashkelon. The IDF said that several of those warnings were false alarms. The army also dismissed claims that Hamas had fired rockets at Israeli warplanes.
The incident that set off Motzoei Shabbos’s chain of events involved a bomb that went off when soldiers approached the Gaza border fence to pull down a Palestinian flag that had been planted on the fence. When they got near the fence, the bomb went off. The injured were taken by helicopter to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva. The incident occurred on Shabbos afternoon near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, and was the most serious incident in terms of injuries since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
The flag was apparently planted on the fence by rioters on the Gaza side, who in recent weeks have moved closer and closer to the border fence, throwing rocks and other items at IDF soldiers patrolling on the border. The IDF said in a statement that it “views with great seriousness the attempts by Hamas and other terror groups to conduct these riots designed to turn the border fence area into a site for confrontation and to carry out terror attacks that will make life more difficult for Gaza residents.”
Coordinator for Government Affairs in the Territories General Yoav Mordechai said that “Hamas is inciting the civilian population’s anger and suffering to recruit them for terrorist attacks. The flag incident Shabbos shows how fearful the terror groups are. We will not ignore the use by Hamas of residents to conduct these riots near the border. The IDF will respond in force. Gaza residents need to wake up.”