A female suicide bomber blew herself up Monday afternoon near IDF forces in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza.
The suicide bomber, Marvat Masud, was affiliated with the al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad's military wing.
The incident took place at about 3:30 p.m., when the woman arrived at a temporary checkpoint set up by Givati soldiers in town. The crossing was established in the framework of efforts to apprehend wanted suspects.
IDF sources reported that the soldiers identified the suicide bomber after she approached them and raised their suspicion. The soldiers called on her to stop and remove her overcoat, at which point she activated the explosive belt.
The officials noted that the troops' alertness prevented a large-scale attack. The soldier who was lightly injured was evacuated to the Barzilay Hospital in Ashkelon for treatment.
Beit Hanoun. Some gunmen still active (Photo: AFP)
Several incidents have taken place in Beit Hanoun throughout the day and a number of gunmen were shot by IDF forces and air force planes.
Army sources reported that some 50 terrorists had been killed since the onset of Operation Autumn Clouds in Beit Hanoun, but added that some gunmen were still operating in the area.
The suicide bombing Monday appears to be part of the terrorists' efforts to carry put a massive attack against military forces in the region.
Earlier Monday IDF forces attacked a target in Jabalya, killing 17-year-old Mahmoud Ashrafi and wounding seven other Palestinians, mostly teenagers.
Palestinian sources said the IDF fired a missile from the air, while army officials claimed the attack was launched by ground forces.
The IDF said soldiers spotted a Qassam-firing cell that planned to collect launchers used in Sunday’s rocket attack on Sderot; the force proceeded to open fire at the suspects and identified a hit, according to the IDF.
Meanwhile, it was reported that the ongoing IDF operation in Beit Hanoun is expected to conclude in a number of days; army officials have expressed their satisfaction with its results, despite the fact that the Qassam attacks on the western Negev have not ceased. On Monday Palestinians in Gaza fired another Qassam rocket toward Israel; the rocket landed in an open field near Kibbutz Yad Mordechai; no injuries were reported.
The Palestinians, who refer to the operation as a “massacre,” said some 50 people have been killed so far and called on the international community to intervene. On Sunday the captors of Corporal Gilad Shalit said the operation is endangering his life.
It is estimated that an even broader IDF operation is in the cards, although it has not received cabinet approval as of yet.
Ali Waked contributed to the report