Two Gaza Belt communities were saved by IDF soldiers who spotted two squads of terrorists suddenly materializing from the earth.
Two separate squads of terrorists emerged from two tunnels between the communities of Kibbutz Nir Am and Kibbutz Erez just after 6:30 am. They were detected “infiltrating through two tunnels from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel,” the IDF said. One was spotted and targeted by the Israel Air Force. Ground forces immediately engaged the second squad, the IDF spokesperson explained.
Residents in Erez, Nir Am, Ein Hashlosha and Re’im were warned to stay in their homes as IDF troops opened fire at the terrorists, eventually killing all of them. In the exchange, a number of IDF soldiers were also injured by an anti-tank missile fired at them by the terrorists.
Ominously, IDF soldiers also later discovered during a search of the bodies a number of injectable tranquilizers and handcuffs. These were to be used in subduing kidnap victims captured by the terrorists, had they succeeded in infiltrating the nearby kibbutzim, or roads along the way.
Roads in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council district were sealed off to prevent the terrorists from advancing to other communities, including Route 34, Route 232 and Route 4. Those roads were opened hours later, once it was determined that every single terrorist was eliminated.
While soldiers were exchanging gunfire with the terrorists in the area and on into the morning, numerous barrages of Qassam rockets were launched from Gaza at all of the communities in the area and beyond, including the nearby city of Sderot.