Despite the ongoing operation in Beit Hanoun and the effort to thwart Qassam attacks from northern Gaza, four rockets were launched by terror groups Friday afternoon. One landed on a house in kibbutz Beeri, causing damage but no injuries.
The second landed in a residential neighborhood in Sderot, and the third and fourth in an open area on the outskirts of the town, no injuries or damage reported. Two additional rockets were launched earlier on Friday at the Sufa crossing in southern Gaza, the rockets landed in an open area near the security fence.
Palestinians say that 22 people have been killed since the operation began on Wednesday but the army is reporting a much larger number, saying Friday that 34 terrorists were killed by IDF ground and air forces since Autumn Clouds began.
A military source from the southern command said that eight terrorists were killed in Friday morning's clashes in the town of Beit Hanoun. The gunmen had blended in with the rioting civilian crowd he said. Palestinian sources said late Friday morning that two women had been killed in the crossfire, eight people were reported wounded.
The IDF reported no casualties in the Beit Hanoun clashes. An IDF soldier was lightly wounded when an antitank shell was fired at a military post situated along the security fence separating Israel and Gaza. He received medical treatment on location.
Military sources told Ynet Friday morning that there are still gunmen in the area where forces had laid siege on a mosque were dozens of gunmen fortified themselves and engaged the troops from within the place of worship. The operation continues, the sources said, and troops will continue trying to arrest terror operatives wanted for questioning by IDF Intelligence.
Gunmen fled with help of protestors
Regarding the hours-long siege to the mosque in central Beit Hanoun, Palestinians reported that all the men wanted by the IDF fled the scene. The IDF doesn't rule the possibility that some of the wanted men managed to escape, aided by the civilian protestors who were rioting nearby.
The IDF believes that the gunmen managed to blend in with the crowd. The army says that due to the presence of the protestors the soldiers acted with extreme caution so as not to harm civilians who are uninvolved in terror.
The army also says that forces thwarted several attempts by terror groups to launch Qassam rockets at Israel during Thursday night and Friday morning from the Beit Hanoun area.
Despite these efforts however, two Qassam rockets were launched from northern Gaza at the Sufa crossing in southern Gaza. The rockets landed in an open area near the security fence, no injuries or damage reported.
The IDF is also preparing for the possibility of terror groups arriving to the Beit Hanoun area in the coming hours to attack the forces operating within Gaza.
Operation Autumn Clouds is expected to continue, with forces intending to locate additional terrorists, as well as rocket infrastructure and other arms.
Ali Waked and Shmulik Hadad contributed to this article