Five IDF soldiers were killed in an incident Monday in which terrorists from Gaza infiltrated into Israel through an underground tunnel, raising the number of IDF casualties to 53.
According to the IDF, the terrorist attempted to kidnap a wounded soldier during the incident. The event took place after one of the mortars fired from Gaza hit an IDF outpost, killing five more soldiers, turning Monday into one of bloodiest days for IDF forces since Operation Protective Edge began 22 days ago.
The soldiers killed in the incident, in which a number of terrorists from Gaza attempted to enter Israel near the Sha'ar Hanegev community of Nahal Oz, have been named as:
Sgt. Nadav Raimond, 19, from Shadmot Dvora; Sgt Daniel Kedmi, 18, from Tsofim; Sgt. Barkey Ishai Shor, 21, from Jerusalem; Sgt Sagi Erez, 19, from Kiryat Ata; and Sgt Dor Dery, 18, from Jerusalem.
At least four terrorists infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip on Monday evening, likely through a tunnel. IDF troops killed at least one of them. Earlier the army said all four were hit by IDF fire, and the alert level in the area was raised to the highest maximum.
Army Radio said Hamas fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the soldiers who were in a watchtower and then tried to drag one of the soldiers' bodies into the tunnel back to Gaza, but failed when troops fired at them, killing one militant.
Hamas said nine of its fighters carried out the attack.
"They attacked a fortified military watch tower of Nahal Oz where there were a great number of occupation soldiers," the group's armed wing, said in a statement.
A military source said that "four to seven terrorists penetrated into Israel through a tunnel near Nahal Oz. We knew about this tunnel, and today we'll continue to investigate it.
"One of the soldiers on the outpost noticed that the terrorists were attempting to drag one of the wounded soldiers (into the tunnel) and opened fire. They left behind four Kalashnikovs and an RPG missile," he said.
Four IDF soldiers were killed, while at least six other people were wounded, some seriously and criticially, by mortar fire on Eshkol near the Gaza border early Monday evening. Because this was a mortar and not a rocket, there was no Code Red siren.
The four soldiers who were killed in the mortar hit in Eshkol are:
Staff Sgt. Eliav Eliyahu Haim Kahlon, 22-years-old from Safed.
Staff Sgt. Adi Briga, 23-years-old from Beit Shikma.
Corporal Maeidan Maymon Biton, 20-years-old from Netivot.
Corporal Niran Cohen, 20-years-old from Tiberius.
A fifth soldier, Sgt. Moshe Davino, 20-years-old from Jerusalem, was killed in the afternoon hours in Gaza. He was posthumously promoted to Staff Sergeant.
Davino, an Engineering Corps combat soldier, was killed when an RPG hit a D-9 bulldozer he was in. Another soldier was wounded in the attack.
Ten terrorists took part in the coordinated attack on the engineering troops: Eight of them were killed in fire exchange with Givati troops and two others surrendered and taken for questioning.
The families of the fallen troops have been informed.
The wounded were taken to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheba and to the Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer.