An explosive device strapped to a woman suicide bomber was activated Thursday afternoon near IDF soldiers operating in the Jabalya area in north Gaza. The terrorist was killed, and three soldiers sustained light injuries in the incident, bringing the number of troops injured in the Strip throughout the day to seven.
Palestinian sources said the terrorist was identified as 57-year-old Fatma Najar, claiming she was sent on the suicide mission by Hamas.
Her family said she had nine children and nearly 30 grandchildren. She was the first known Palestinian grandmother to attempt a suicide bombing against Israelis.
"I am very proud of what she did. Allahu Akbar (God is greatest)," one of her sons, Fuad, 31, told Reuters.
On a video released by Hamas, the woman read out a statement saying said she wanted to dedicate her death to Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails and to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas.
She wore a black suicide belt and had an M-16 assault rifle slung over her neck.
"I offer myself as a sacrifice to God and to the homeland," she said.
The incident occurred shortly after 5 p.m., when Givati Brigade soldiers operating against Qassam rocket cells spotted the woman approaching them, this after they had received prior warning of a possible suicide attack in the area.
The troops called on the terrorists to stop, but she continued moving towards them, at which point they hurled a grenade in her direction, apparently setting off the explosive device in her possession.
This was the second thwarted suicide terror attack against an IDF soldier in Gaza in the past month; one Givati Brigade soldier was lightly injured in the previous incident, which also involved a woman terrorist.
Earlier an IDF soldier was lightly wounded Thursday afternoon after an antitank missile was launched at his vehicle in northern Gaza. The soldier, injured from the shrapnel, was hospitalized in Beer Sheva.
While IDF operations continued in Gaza, Qassams continued to rain on the western Negev. Five rockets had been launched Thursday, as of the early evening.
Thursday afternoon, one Qassam landed in a town south of Ashkelon, hitting one building directly.
Injured soldier being evacuated (Photo: Amir Cohen)
Earlier Thursday, two additional soldiers had been wounded when an antitank missile was fired at their armored vehicle. They were transferred to an Ashkelon hospital for treatment.
Thursday morning, a soldier had been injured from shrapnel, also following an antitank missile attack on his vehicle. He, too, was hospitalized in Ashkelon.
Wednesday there were several other incidents of antitank missiles attacks. In one, a soldier was moderately injured after Palestinians shot the missile at a structure in which he was taking shelter, along with other soldiers.
From their side, the Palestinians reported that seven Gazans were killed by IDF fire Thursday. According to them, one of those killed, Ala Halil, was shot by IDF troops in the Sheikh Zayed neighborhood, near Beit Lahiya in the northern Strip.
An Islamic Jihad member was killed at noon and a 19-year-old Palestinian was killed during the morning hours; dozens of Palestinians were injured during the day, the sources said.
Later it was reported that three members of the Salah al-Din Brigades, the Popular Front’s armed wing, were killed during an IDF aerial strike in the Beit Lahiya area; military officials confirmed that the Air Force had attacked terrorists in the area.
The Palestinians further reported that Anis Musa (20) was killed by IDF sniper fire near Beit Lahiya.
As part of IDF operations Wednesday night, the Israel Air Force attacked a structure serving as a location for transferring terror funds. The building was damaged, but there were no casualties.
Reuters contributed to this report