The IDF continued to operate in the Beit Hanoun area in Gaza Thursday, in the framework of Operation Autumn Clouds, which was launched Wednesday. Four people were killed in the area since the morning hours. According to Palestinian reports, two youths aged 20 and 22 were shot to death, after military forces killed earlier two people – a 75 year-old man and a 15 year-old youth.
Gaza sources said that the teen was killed by a shell that was fired at one of the houses in town, while the elderly man was killed by sniper fire. The Palestinians further reported that some 80 people were injured since the beginning of the operation, including seven members of the same family who were wounded after a shell hit their home.
Meanwhile, several Qassam rockets were fired Thursday morning from northern Gaza Strip and landed in open fields near Sufa Crossing, the town of Sderot and kibbutzim in the Western Negev.
No injuries were reported in the attacks. Two of the rockets fell close to the fences surrounding two kibbutzim, causing some damage to cables in the ground.
The Palestinians called on the international community to intervene and stop the Israeli incursion in Gaza.
Mahmoud Abu Uda from Beit Hanoun told Ynet: "Soldiers continue with operations to uncover explosives and are searching door-to-door. A shell landed inside my house. My son was injured and the soldiers spent hours at my house searching and investigating. We have nothing to do with the armed organizations, but we were humiliated by the soldiers."
Prior to the launching of Operation Autumn Cloud in the Strip two days ago, army officials predicted that the operations will temporarily enhance the Qassam fire from Gaza. Seven rockets landed in and around Sderot Wednesday, causing several injuries and some damage.
However, army officials believe that in the long run, the infrastructure for rocket attacks will sustain significant damage.
Operation Autumn Clouds went into its second day Thursday morning, with IDF forces continuing to operate in the northern Gaza city of Beit Hanoun.
On Wednesday IDF soldiers killed 10 Palestinian gunmen and wounded dozens more in the first day of operation Autumn Clouds, aimed at reducing the number of Qassam rockets launched at Israel from that area. Officials from the southern command stated Wednesday night that the operation was expected to continue: "We can't promise that the Qassams will completely stop from this area, but we will absolutely continue to operate against the entire rocket succession, in the launching grounds and against the launching cells themselves."
The forces participating in the operation include soldiers from the Givati and Golani brigades, as well as the Armor and Engineering corps. The ground forces are also aided by aerial support. On the first day of the operation forces uncovered large amounts of weaponry, including night vision equipment and various firearms, the three Palestinians who were hiding the weapons in their home were taken for questioning by security forces.
Military sources say that the current operation is the largest one conducted by the army in recent months, both in troop numbers and allotted timeframe. The forces encountered heavy resistance, including explosive devices, anti-tank missiles and small arms fire.
Shmulik Hadad contributed to the report