The IDF is set to call up an additional 16,000 reservists today (Thursday) to give soldiers in Gaza “some breathing room”, bringing the total of reserve soldiers called up to 86,000.
The IDF continues to dismantle the terror tunnels in Gaza while deepening its hold on Gaza.
For the first time since the start of Operation Protective Edge, the IDF entered the Jabalya refugee camp. Israeli forces reportedly stepped up military strikes on Hamas targets as well.
In one incident, Givati forces shot and killed a gunman who fired an anti-tank missile at troops in southern Gaza overnight. In the course of house searches in central Gaza, IDF soldiers uncovered sensitive intelligence on the IDF gathered by Hamas.
Also found were numerous weapons and a large number of tunnels used as bunkers linking a string of houses.
A joint IDF task force uncovered a tunnel entrance on the ground floor of a mosque that was used by Hamas terrorists to attack Israeli soldiers.
It was discovered last night that two explosive devices were detonated against the soldiers who penetrated the structure that masqueraded as an UNRWA clinic. One was planted within the tunnel uncovered by the IDF. The second was concealed within the clinic itself. The explosion caused the building to collapse, killing three members of an elite paratrooper unit, Staff Sgt. Matan Gotlib, 21 and Staff Sgt. Omer Hay, 21, and Staff Sgt. Guy Algranati, 20. Fifteen others were wounded; it brings to 56 the number of IDF soldiers killed in three weeks of fight. Three civilians have died.
Israel called for another humanitarian truce yesterday afternoon, which Hamas did not reciprocate. During the four hour period, Hamas fired 26 rockets and missiles at Israel, including two that were intercepted over Ashkelon and Netivot. Hamas fired more than 130 rockets into Israel in the course of the day.
An Israeli delegation reportedly flew to Cairo for ceasefire discussions, and left after just a few hours. The Hamas delegation did not show up. Egypt reportedly refused to host a Palestinian delegation until Hamas ceases fire, which it is refusing to do.
Channel 2 reports some 300,000 residents of southern Israel have left their homes since the start of Operation Protective Edge due to the rocket fire from Gaza and the infiltration threat. Many are reluctant to return as the tunnel threat is still imminent.
Since last night, the IDF and IAF have targeted some 110 terror activity sites across Gaza. Included were five houses belonging to senior Hamas officials who used their homes as command and control centers.
Over the past 24 hours more than 140 rockets were fired at Israel. Of those, 81 rockets hit Israel, 9 were intercepted, and 50 – a full 36 percent — fell short in Gaza, possibly indicating either a loss in the number of competent rocketeers or a drop in the quality of ordnance.
Hamas has fired over 2,670 rockets at Israeli civilians since the beginning of Operation ‘Protective Edge’.
About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.
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