Jerusalem Post – by Yaakov Lappin
The IAF struck 14 targets in Gaza overnight Monday in two waves of air strikes. Nine terrorists – including seven Hamas operatives who were in a tunnel in Rafah – were killed.
Hamas claimed that the terror operatives were all killed in the air strikes, however, a senior IDF source on Monday said that the seven Hamas members in the tunnel died as a result of explosives they planted in an underground assault tunnel aimed at an IDF target.
“This was designed to enable a significant terror attack,” the source said. “In recent days, we have operated in this area, and we will continue to act against the threat of tunnels in the coming days,” he added.
The seven Hamas members did not die as a result of an Israeli air strike, the source explained. The tunnel was found by the army a few days ago.
In the second wave of strikes, launched a few hours later, five underground rocket launchers were bombed in Gaza.
Earlier, on Sunday night, the IAF struck a terrorist cell in central Gaza which was in the process of carrying out a rocket attack on Israel, the IDF said. Two terrorists were killed in that strike.
Hamas said most of the strikes were launched at a gathering point for its members in Gaza’s southern-most town of Rafah, at the Egyptian border. Another strike was launched in northern Gaza, it said.
Nine Hamas fighters were killed and four people were wounded in the attacks, the group’s armed wing said in a statement.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Israel of committing a “grave escalation” in violence and threatened to retaliate, saying Israel would “pay the price.”
Also overnight, adding to tensions, a mortar shell was launched into the Golan Heights from Syria and the IDF retaliated by shooting at targets across the border.