IDF ground forces completed work to destroy the last of Hamas’s known cross-border tunnels on Sunday, and struck some 70 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets across the Strip.
Many units withdrew to staging areas in Gaza, though some remained behind, taking up defensive lines inside the Strip to protect Israeli villages.
Since the start of the Gazan war, the IDF has hit 4,600 terror targets. These included rocket launchers, command and control centers, and weapons storage and production facilities.
A terrorist shot at a Givati Brigade infantry unit and an Armored Corps unit in Gaza on Sunday morning. The units returned fire, before observing a Palestinian gunman fleeing a home and entering a vehicle. The air force then struck the vehicle.
“There is no decision to stop the operation,” a senior army source said Sunday.
“We are preparing to attack, not only to defend,” the source said. “If a decision is made that this is necessary, we will attack,” he added.
The IDF struck 108 targets overnight between Saturday and Sunday in Gaza. One soldier was moderately wounded by Palestinian sniper fire in Beit Hanun.
Paratroopers in the Strip detected four terrorists preparing to fire an anti-tank missile. Acting on the information, the Armored Corps fired shells at a home in which the terrorists were stationed.
The building collapsed and the terrorists were killed.
Givati infantry soldiers recently uncovered 150 mortars, as well as a new tunnel shaft, in Gaza. Earlier, Givati soldiers detected terrorists who surfaced from a tunnel.
The IDF fired shells at the cell, which escaped to a nearby home. The IDF shelled the home, and three terrorists were killed. Troops then destroyed the tunnel.
The Israel Air Force killed eight gunmen in air strikes on Sunday and the IDF attacked more than 70 terrorist targets throughout Sunday.
Givati infantry soldiers seized quantities of firearms, rocket launchers, and antitank missiles on Saturday night.
The IDF said that more than 55 rockets had been fired from Gaza at Israel on Sunday. Shrapnel from a rocket shot down by the Iron Dome air-defense system fell inside a playground in the Tel Aviv area but caused no injury, media reports said.
Hamas’s armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, on Sunday threatened to target all Israeli cities with rockets, in response to “massacres against civilians” in the Gaza Strip.
“During this battle, we tried as much as possible to focus our attacks on military targets and avoided – as much as we could – targeting nonmilitary personnel,” the terrorist group claimed in a statement. “But the enemy has and continues to cover its frustration by targeting innocent Palestinian civilians.”
The statement claimed that Israel has chosen to “run away” from the battlefield with Hamas. “The resistance still possesses the tools and capabilities to force the enemy to capitulate to the just demands of our people,” the group warned.
The fighting on Sunday pushed the Gaza death toll given by Palestinian officials to 1,775, most of them civilians.
Israel has confirmed that 64 soldiers have died in combat, while Palestinian rockets have killed three civilians in Israel.
Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri demanded an apology from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for endorsing the Israeli version regarding the “kidnapping” of IDF officer Hadar Goldin.
“Ban Ki-moon is complicit in the massacres because of his silence and concern over dead Israeli soldiers while ignoring the blood of innocent civilians,” Abu Zuhri said. “The occupation took advantage of this stance to perpetrate an ugly massacre against Rafah.
Ban Ki-moon must apologize and hold Israel responsible for the Rafah massacre and all crimes.”
An IDF strike in Gaza on Saturday night targeted senior Hamas operative Ahmed Hassan Mabhouh, 29, who was an engineering and explosives officer in Hamas’s Jabalya battalion.
Mabhouh was killed in the strike. He was the nephew of senior Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who, according to foreign press reports, Israeli agents assassinated in Dubai in 2010 for his role in importing Iranian arms to the Gaza Strip.
Ahmed Mabhouh, a resident of Jabalya, planted underground rocket launchers and planted explosives to assist in ambushes of the IDF, the Shin Bet said.