IDF officer, Lieutenant Ahiya Klein, who was wounded in Thursday's incident on the Gaza border, regained consciousness in Soroka Hospital in Beersheba. The hospital stated that he is communicating with his surroundings.
Klein's eye injury is still considered serious, however, and will require additional surgery in the future. It was also stated that doctors are carefully optimistic about saving his eyesight.
Klein, from Kfar Eztion, sustained the most serious wounds in an incident that injured four other Engineering Corps soldiers, operating on both sides of the Gaza border fence. The force was hit after a bomb went off on Thursday night.
The troops were at the scene as part of the efforts to uncover additional parts of an underground terror tunnel that was located in the area a month ago.
Soldiers at scene of Gaza incident on Thursday night (Photo: Roee Idan)
Chief of Staff General Benny Gantz visited the soldiers wounded in the incident and said, "I am here to express thanks and appreciation to our units and our fighters who operate even in situations where there is danger to life, as we see in this case, where they were injured, and yet completed the mission."
As for Gaza, Gantz clarified, "We will continue the operation in Gaza. The threat from tunnels is significant, and we will continue to work in that regard as long as necessary. Months after Operation Pillar of Defense, the security situation is much better. Obviously, there remain threats from the Gaza Strip. We continue to deal with them and will continue to deal with them."
Injured soldier rushed to hospital (Photo: Herzel Yosef)
Sunday morning, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon also visited the wounded and said, "The tunnel phenomena worries us. Hamas saw in them a way to prepare the infrastructure for terror attacks against us. We see Hamas as responsible by virtue of the fact that they are engaged in excavation (of the tunnels) and control Gaza. If they maintain quiet, so will we."
Injured soldiers assist one another following Gaza incident (Photo: Herzel Yosef)
Ya'alon added, "All provocations will be responded to. There is no connection between what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the negotiations with the Palestinians. Hamas…is preparing itself to renew the violence by various means."
In response to the incident on Thursday, the IDF opened fire. Palestinians reported one person killed and one injured. According to reports in the Gaza Strip, the victim was Ravia Braha, 21. He and the injured man are members of Hamas' military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Later in the day, the Israeli Air Force attacked a tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip.
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