Hamas rejected an Israeli proposal to extend a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire, and fired rockets at the Shfela region and Ashkelon on Saturday night, triggering air raid sirens and Iron Dome interceptions.
Seven soldiers were killed on Friday and Saturday in battles, before Hamas and Israel agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian truce, during which the army continued to destroy terrorist tunnels. The army called on Gazan civilians not to return to evacuated homes at the end of the truce.
The army named the slain soldiers as: St.-Sgt. Amit Yeori, 20, an Engineering Corps soldier from Jerusalem, killed in battle in southern Gaza; Lt. Roy Peles, 21, a Nahal infantryman from Tel Aviv, killed when an anti-tank missile struck a home he was in. Peles was posthumously promoted to lieutenant; St.- Sgt. Avraham Grintzvaig, 21, from Petah Tikva, also from the Nahal Brigade; St.-Sgt.
Gal Bason, 21, an Engineering Corps soldier from Holon.
Bason was posthumously promoted; St.-Sgt. Guy Levy, 21, an Armored Corps soldier from Kfar Vradim; and St.- Sgt.-Maj. Yair Ashkenazy, 36, from Rehovot.
Ashkenazy served in the reserves brigade of the Bahad 1 officer training base. The IDF is investigating the circumstances of his death.
The name of an additional who was killed was not yet released.
On Saturday, the IDF announced that St.-Sgt. Guy Boyland, 21, from Kibbutz Ginosar, had been killed in a firefight in southern Gaza. He served in the Combat Engineering Corps.
Golani Brigade infantry soldier St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul, 20, who was unaccounted for after an attack on his APC that killed six other soldiers last week, was declared dead by the IDF chief rabbi on Friday afternoon.
The IDF said Shaul was killed in action last Sunday, although his body had yet to be recovered.
Forty soldiers and officers have been killed in Gaza since the start of the ground offensive on July 17.
Three soldiers were seriously wounded over the weekend, 13 were moderately hurt, and 19 were lightly wounded.
The army detected and destroyed four tunnel shafts on Saturday. The Givati, Paratroop and 7th Armored Brigades all took part in the operations to locate the shafts.
The Engineering Corps has been working throughout the operation to locate, map and destroy Gaza’s tunnel network.
Both conscripted and reserve Engineering Corps units, together with the elite Yahalom commando demolition unit, are leading the effort to destroy the tunnels.
The IDF has struck more than 155 targets across Gaza over the past 24 hours, the army said on Saturday morning.
Forces under the command of the Givati infantry brigade uncovered several booby- trapped homes and communications equipment.
Meanwhile, the air force struck a terrorist cell that fired on a Nahal Brigade unit.
Since the start of the operation, the IDF has hit more than 3,670 targets.
The IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) struck the Rafah home of senior Islamic Jihad member Salah Abu Hasnin on Friday.
Hasnin, a member of the group’s Supreme Military Council, was killed. Hasnin was also the head of Islamic Jihad’s spokesman’s division in Rafah.
The IDF has killed 240 terrorists in Gaza since the start of the ground offensive on July 17. The IDF hit 75 targets on Friday, and 3,590 targets since the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 8.
On Friday afternoon, the IDF uncovered anti-tank missiles, grenades and communication equipment in a home in the southern Gaza Strip.
Additionally, paratroopers encountered six armed terrorists, killing them.
An Armored Corps unit uncovered a tunnel shaft early on Friday. A terrorist cell fired in the unit, which shot back and killed two of the enemy.
An additional armored unit then uncovered a booby- trapped home filled with explosives, as well as underground rocket launchers.
Overnight Thursday and Friday, the IDF hit several command and control posts used by Gazan terrorist organizations.
It also struck Hamas’s domestic security ministry, and the military office of Ra’ad Thabat, a senior weapons production operative in Hamas.
The IDF killed and wounded 40 terrorists in the past 24 hours, the army said on Friday morning.
On Thursday, a Golani Brigade officer was seriously wounded when a wall collapsed on him during searches for tunnels in Shejaia in Gaza City. The officer, Lt.-Col. Shai Siman Tov, was airlifted to hospital.