Four Palestinians were killed and another 14 were injured in an IDF operation launched Monday night in the southern Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian report, a Hamas member and a mother and her son were among the casualties.
The Hamas operative was killed in an airstrike Monday night, which was followed by the entry of ground forces into the area with helicopters and armored vehicles. The rest of the Palestinians were hurt in exchanges of fire with IDF soldiers.
The IDF reported that a Golani force from the 51st Battalion has been operating along with armor and engineering corps as part of the army's activity against terror threats in the area. According to the army, at least three gunmen were hit.The clashes took place in the Absan and Farahin areas, near the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis. Palestinians reported that an unmanned aerial vehicle circled over the area for several hours on Monday evening. The airstrike took place in the night and was followed by the entry of IDF armored vehicles.
According to the Palestinians' estimates, the activity may have been aimed at uncovering tunnels, as it took place very close to the border fence.
Body of one of casualties evacuated (Photo: AFP)
The Palestinians also reported that IDF soldiers took over a number of houses in the southern Strip during the operation, and that the troops were calling on men aged 16 to 40 to leave their homes.
According to the Palestinians, one of the men killed in the clashes is a member of Hamas' military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who was identified as Muhammad Abu Musmah, 24.
Another casualty is a civilian, 40-year-old Ibrahim Abdullah Shami, who according to the reports was accidentally shot as he stood on a rooftop. The woman killed with her son was identified as 65-year-old Sabha al-Fareh, and her son's name is Omar.
The IDF reported that the son was a Hamas member and that it was checking into the reports that the mother was also hit.
The Palestinians organizations, mainly Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, recently claimed responsibility for the firing of mortar shells and rockets at the forces operating in the area and at the Kissufim crossing.
In the past few months, since Independence Day when Hamas gunmen tried to kidnap an IDF soldier, the IDF has been carrying out a series of raids in the Gaza Strip.
Infantry, armor and engineering corps take part in these operations according to their goals. The activity is aimed at thwarting terror attacks by detaining operatives, uncovering terror infrastructure such as tunnels, and searching for weapons.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report