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Palestinian Authority/Gaza, November 11, 2018

IDF officer killed, another wounded in clashes with Hamas terrorists in Gaza

Original source

The Jerusalem Post

The IDF confirmed Sunday night that an officer was killed during a military operation in the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis during a firefight with Palestinian militants.

Another soldier was moderately injured and evacuated to Soroka hospital.

"During IDF special forces' operational activity in Gaza, an exchange of fire broke out, during which an IDF officer was killed and an additional IDF officer was moderately injured," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement.

A notice was given to the families, the military statement said, adding that while the "operation has ended," civilians must obey all security instructions.

At least seven Palestinians were killed, including a top Hamas commander late Sunday night during clashes between terrorists and IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip.

Dispelling rumors, the IDF said that none of its troops were kidnapped by Hamas.

"Contrary to reports, none of our soldiers were abducted during the operational activity that took place in Gaza," the Israeli army said in a statement, confirming that all IDF troops returned to Israeli territory.

According to local reports a firefight broke out Palestinian militants and an elite IDF force in Khan Younis. The report said that troops were exposed after firing at senior militant in Hamas' military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassem Brigades, from a passing car, leading to the firefight to break out.

The senior Hamas militant targeted was named as the Khan Younis commander Sheikh Nur Barakeh who was reported to be involved with Hamas's tunnel program.

Israeli aircraft which reportedly accompanied the troops were said to have fired some 20 missiles towards the area, killing at least five Palestinians.

"We have five martyrs and a number of wounded people due to an ongoing Israeli bombardment of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip," the Palestinian Red Crescent said in a statement.

A statement released by Hamas's Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades said that a "special force of the Zionist enemy infiltrated this evening in a civilian car 3 kilometers east of Khan Younis. The force assassinated the commander of our forces. The withdrawal of the enemy led to the martyrdom of a number of people."

Residents in the Israeli communities surrounding the southern Gaza Strip were warned to stay close to shelter for further notice following the security incident, with two rounds of incoming rocket sirens activated in the communities.

Rocket sirens were sounded near the border communities of Avshalom, Dekel, Yevul, Yated, Pri Gan, Sde Avraham, Shlomit and Shlomzion.

The IDF confirmed that three projectiles were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, with two intercepted by the Iron Dome Missile Defense system. There were no reports of injuries.

Classes were canceled for Monday morning in Gaza border communities following the night's events and farmers were told that they could not work in fields near the security fence. Roads near the security fence were also closed to the public and all gatherings of over 300 people must be held in closed areas.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman held a situational assessment at the IDF's Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv along with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the head of the Shin Bet security service and other senior officials in the defense establishment.

The flight paths into and out of Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport were also altered following the events in Gaza.

Hamas and other Palestinian groups issued a statement urging Palestinian journalists and social media users to refrain from publishing details of the "security incident."‭‮

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum denounced as "cowardly" the IDF operation near Khan Yunis and praised the "heroic Palestinian resistance" for being on alert and ready to confront any "aggression by the Zionist enemy."‭‮

Earlier in the day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that there is "No political solution exists for Gaza, just as there isn't one with ISIS" and that he is doing everything he can to avoid "unnecessary war."

"Believe me, we were a step away from exerting maximal force and I think Hamas understood this." He said while in Paris to attend the Paris Peace Forum, adding that "currently what is destabilizing the Strip is internal tensions and we are trying to prevent that."