VIDEO - Cleared for publication: Two IDF soldiers were killed Saturday during a clash with Palestinian gunmen in northern Gaza Strip.
Staff Sergeant Doron Asulin, 20, from Beersheba and Staff Sergeant Eran Dan Gur, 20, from Jerusalem, were killed Saturday morning in the Gaza Strip. Asulin was in the Givati brigade's patrol battalion; Dan Gur was of the brigade's Shaked battalion.
The two were hit during a fire exchange with gunmen, who apparently used an explosive device during fighting.
A military source told Ynet that "the soldiers acted as expected, but this kind of fighting is rarely without casualties."
Seven other soldiers were injured in the incident – six suffering light wounds and one suffering moderate ones.
The Five were hurt during a clash with Hamas gunmen and suffered mostly shrapnel injuries to their arms and legs. They were airlifted to the Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.
IDF operations in the Gaza Strip over the weekend have left 46 Palestinians dead, most affiliated with Hamas.
Givati and armor forces, aided by IAF fighter jets have been operating in the northern Gaza since Friday night. Palestinian militants fired over 40 rockets at Israel's western Negev, Sderot and Ashkelon since the military operation began; three people were injured as a result, two of them children.
"The activity is taking place in areas which the terror organizations want to guard, including launching pads," a military source explained.
Hamas sources said the IDF soldiers were hit by an improved anti-tank missile recently introduced to Gaza. Several weeks ago, a Hamas official told Ynet that the organization has been able to have missiles similar to those used by the Hizbullah in the Second Lebanon War, smuggled into Gaza.
According to reports, the gunmen were firing mortar shells, antitank and RPG missiles at the soldiers. Over 60 Palestinians were reportedly wounded in the fighting.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who toured the area on Friday, said that "the escalations in Hamas' responsibility and it will be held accountable for it.
"The government will do everything to keep Ashkelon free of rocket fire," he added.
IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi held a security briefing Saturday to discuss the escalating fighting in southern Israel.
Following the briefing, Defense Minister Ehud Barak that IDF operations in Gaza must continue in order to drive terror operatives launching Qassam rockets into Israel, deeper into the central Strip, adding that rocket productions labs must be destroyed.
Palestinian sources reported Saturday that the Israeli Airforce attacked the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza. It is still unknown what the target of this raid was, or whether there were any injuries.
Later Saturday, the Israeli Air Force struck a truck transporting 160 Qassam rockets and several gunmen in Gaza. The IAF reported a confirmed hit.
Staff-Sergeant Eran Dan Gur's funeral will take place on Sunday in the military cemetery in Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
Ali Waked contributed to this report