A senior IDF official said Monday evening that the six Hamas men killed in an explosion Sunday night in a Gaza had come into contact with explosive materials, and hinted that the explosives had been placed there days earlier by the Israeli military.
The senior source said that the six Palestinians were Hamas members "who were in the tunnel with explosives" and that "the tunnel was intended for a significant terror attack with specialist infrastructure and an anti-soldier force."
"The operation against the tunnel was undertaken several days ago," source said, "the Hamas members touched the explosives ... and it caused the tunnel's explosion." One side of the tunnel, he said, opened in Israeli territory close to the southern Gaza Strip.
According to the source, the IDF will continue to attack similar targets in the coming days.
The Israeli Air Force attacked concealed rocket launching pads in the Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit announced Monday. A "direct hit was identified" the military announced at the end of the airstrike.
Palestinian media sources reported that a 4-year-old boy was moderately injured in the attack. Earlier Monday a rocket exploded in a community within the Eshkol Regional Council, damaging a chicken coop; there were no injuries.
The IDF airdropped leaflets from the sky in which they warned Gaza residents against supporting militants: "The people who dig tunnels are a danger to you, your children, and your property. Do not sit idly by."
The leaflets contain a telephone number and email address to which the local population can send any information about terror tunnels.
Overnight Sunday, Hamas' military wing reported that six of its men were killed in Israeli Air Force attacks in the Gaza Strip. The six members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades were killed in a tunnel in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
Four Palestinians were also injured, and a seventh Hamas operative was killed elsewhere.
Hours later, rocket fire at southern Israel continued – one rocket fell in an open area and another hit a community in the Eshkol Regional Council, wounding one soldier lightly. He was taken to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba with shrapnel injuries to his legs and back. Damage was also caused to a vehicle.
Also on Monday morning, an anti-tank RPG was fired at an IDF force on operational duty near the Gaza border fence near kibbutz Re'im. The troops returned fired. No one was hurt and no damage was caused in the incident.