10 Kassams land in W. Negev; troops kill terror operative.
By YAAKOV KATZ, JPOST.COM STAFF
A 35-year-old woman and a 14-year-old boy, who were shot by the IDF in two separate incidents in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya, died of their wounds on Thursday night, Palestinian sources reported.
Reportedly, the woman was hit by a shell fired from an IDF tank at members of a Kassam rocket-launching cell.
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The circumstances in which the boy was shot were unclear.
Meanwhile, IDF troops killed a Palestinian gunman during a battle in the West Bank town of Jenin, the Islamic Jihad said. A second gunman, a senior commander, was wounded.
Another group, the Aksa Martyrs' Brigades, linked to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, also claimed that the gunman was a affiliated with their group and began marching in Jenin in protest over his death.
The IDF said that troops stationed in the town spotted two armed Palestinians and opened fire, hitting both of them.
Earlier Wednesday, as ground troops, tanks, and other armored vehicles advanced into Gaza, the IDF killed two Palestinian gunmen.
In Beit Hanun, troops fired on a group of Hamas terrorists as they were attempting to launch a Kassam rocket into Israel.The troops managed to prevent the launch and killed one of the terrorists.
Also in Beit Hanun, an embarrassing case of mistaken identity during an IDF operation allowed a Hamas operative to escape.
An IDF tank unit fired shells at two Hamas operatives who had set up a Kassam launcher in order to fire a rocket at southern Israel but narrowly missed its target. The two Palestinians fled and one ran into a nearby house.
When troops entered the house, they nabbed a man who they assumed was the Hamas operative, but it later became clear that the man was none other than the owner of the house and that the Hamas operative had escaped unharmed.
Meanwhile, in Beit Lahiya, IDF tanks fired artillery shells at a group of Palestinian gunmen that were trying to plant explosives on the security fence separating Gaza and the western Negev. One of the operatives was reported killed in the shelling.
On Wednesday afternoon, IDF soldiers discovered three Kassam rocket launchers south of Beit Hanun.
Also during Wednesday's operations, troops fired on two Palestinian combatants armed with RPGs.
According to the IDF, the Palestinians were aiming their weapons at IDF soldiers when they were shot at. The army could not confirm if the operatives were killed.
Earlier, an IDF soldier was moderately wounded after an anti-tank missile was fired at his Givati unit that took up a position inside a house on the outskirts of Beit Hanun. He was treated at the scene and airlifted to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.
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Army snipers positioned themselves on rooftops as the troops fanned out, and three Palestinian girls were wounded by bullets fired outside a school in Beit Hanun, the officials claimed.
Meanwhile, hundreds of students protested Wednesday afternoon at the Sapir College in the Negev over the government's failure to properly protect the school's classrooms and facilities.
The protesters demanded that the government immediately set a budget for protecting the southern academic institution, which is located just a kilometer from the Gaza border.
"We are ashamed of the leadership of the state of Israel, which has forgotten us all," College President Prof. Ze'ev Tzahor declared during the demonstration.
"The problem with Israeli society is that solidarity is gone. Here, we are the frontline, and there is no one backing us. These two years that we are going knocking on doors and receiving endless promises - all of these are false promises," he said.
Kassam barrages continued to pound the western Negev throughout Wednesday as 10 rockets targeted the region. One rocket landed near a school, causing several students to suffer shock.
A Kassam also slammed into an agricultural kibbutz north of the Palestinian Authority controlled coastal strip, causing damage to a chicken coop but no casualties.
Other rockets landed harmlessly in open areas in the western Negev, two in the Sderot area.
Elsewhere, Israeli security forces operating in the West Bank captured 8 Palestinian fugitives before dawn Wednesday, the IDF said.
Two fugitives were nabbed in an arrest raid near Kalandia, north of Jerusalem. In subsequent searches of their hideout, IDF troops uncovered an improvised firearm.
In Nablus, five terror operatives were caught, including member of Fatah, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. No soldiers were reported injured in the counter-terror operations.
AP contributed to this report.
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