Soldier killed, one seriously wounded in Gaza operations

Two soldiers lightly hurt in fierce clashes near Sufa Crossing; Palestinian gunman killed; soldier moderately wounded in Nablus.

An IDF soldier was killed and another was seriously wounded Monday during two IDF operations in the Gaza Strip to dismantle Palestinian terrorist infrastructure near the security fence. In the first incident, an IDF reserve soldier was killed in clashes with Palestinian gunmen near the Sufa Crossing in southern Gaza. The reservist force came under heavy fire, which wounded one soldier seriously and two lightly. The soldiers were evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, where the seriously wounded soldier died of his wounds. A Palestinian gunman was also killed in the clashes. In the second incident, near the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanun, Palestinians fired a rocket propelled grenade at troops operating near the border fence, seriously wounding one of the soldiers. He was evacuated to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. IDF troops, backed up by tanks and helicopters, had entered the area near the northern Gaza town early Monday morning to track down terrorists and destroy weapons smuggling tunnels. They encountered fierce resistance, including anti-tank missiles that were fired at the soldiers. An IAF helicopter fired missiles at the armed Palestinians. Palestinians reported that a Hamas operative and a civilian were killed. Also during the Beit Hanun operation, a terror cell discovered a building where soldiers had taken up a position and began shelling it with mortars. Several soldiers suffered light burns. Also Monday morning, a soldier from a Givati Brigade reconnaissance unit was moderately wounded during an arrest operation in Nablus's Ein Bet Ilmeh refugee camp. The soldier was evacuated to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. During the operation, three fugitives were arrested. In overnight operations elsewhere in the West Bank, IDF soldiers arrested 17 Palestinian fugitives. All of the detainees were transferred to security forces for further interrogation. Meanwhile, Palestinians fired four mortar shells from Gaza toward the border fence on Monday afternoon. Three of the shells landed in central Gaza while the other landed north of the Strip. No one was wounded and no damage was reported.