Israeli forces foiled a significant terror attack along the Gaza border after four
armed Palestinians attempted to infiltrate into southern Israel, the military
said on Saturday.
“We stopped a very large and significant terror attack,” Israeli military Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said.
According to the military the incident began at 4 am when the four men were observed approaching the fence as a group. The four, all armed with AK-47 assault rifles, RPG launchers and hand grenades, were shot dead after one of the men succeeded in scaling the border fence and hurled a grenade at troops from the military’s Golani brigade.
Following the incident Israeli artillery struck two locations east of Deir el-Balah in the center of the Hamas-run enclave.
According to reports in Gaza, three of the four Palestinians killed were members of Hamas’ unit which is responsible for preventing Gazans from approaching the border fence to infiltrate into Israel. They were said to have been pursuing a fourth Palestinian who had been carrying explosives.
The three were identified by Palestinian media as 21 year-old Abdullah Hamaida, 19 year-old Abdullah a-Ghari and 20 year-old Ahmed Adini.
But Manelis strongly denied the reports, saying that all four had been armed and seen moving as a group towards the border fence.
“There is absolutely no way that they were part of Hamas border group. They planned a terror attack,” he said, adding “the four were seen acting as a group the entire time.”
According to Manelis, the four were all wearing uniforms and armed with weapons, food, wire cutters and a medical kit.
“We are still not sure if it was targeting troops or civilians, but we understand that this was a planned attack. You don’t wake up one day and plan to carry out an attack and arm yourself with all these weapons,” he said.
While the military hasn’t yet determined which group is behind the foiled attack, “Hamas is responsible for everything that happens in the Strip,” Manelis said. “There are incidents in which we can say there is a difference of one person who plans an attack like last week alone and there are others, like this one, which we see with this one which was a planned group attack.”
Their remains are in Israeli custody, Manelis said, not expanding if their bodies would be returned.