A Palestinian Islamist infiltrated from the Gaza Strip into Israel overnight, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and several hand grenades. Upon breaching the security fence, an exchange of fire ensued between the Islamist militant and an IDF force that was dispatched to the area.
During the incident, an IDF officer was moderately injured and two other combat soldiers sustained light injuries, before the assailant was killed. Furthermore, a Hamas military post was targeted by an IDF tank during the incident, causing it extensive damage.
IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manelis revealed that the initial assessment is that “the terrorist acted independently.” He further noted that the attack occurred in the area where the IDF is currently constructing an underground barrier along the border, in order to prevent Palestinian terror groups from building offensive’ cross-border attack tunnels.
In the meantime, the IDF officer who sustained moderate injuries underwent an operation at the Soroka Medical Center in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva, where all three of the wounded troops were hospitalized following the attack.
The violent incident occurrent just several hours after the IDF announced the completion of a divisional exercise. The drill was held in the sector of the IDF’s Gaza Division, during which a variety of scenarios were trained. According to information that the IDF provided TV7, this exercise was the latest in a series of drills meant to prepare the Israeli military for a wide-scale conflict in the terror-infested Palestinian enclave.
IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi who visited the exercise, voiced his satisfaction with the military’s preparedness, ahead of a potential campaign in the Gaza Strip. In his words: “My impression is not based on this visit alone, but also on a series of discussions, situation assessments and exercises, which we have conducted in recent months. My impression is that very significant progress has been made here. I think that the Southern Command and the Gaza Division, with the held of the entire General Staff have undergone a very serious and comprehensive series of preparations, and I find the preparedness for a potential campaign in the Gaza Strip very high.”
The Israeli Military Chief underscored, in his meeting with IDF commanders of the Gaza Division, that they must remain vigilant, as the assumption – that a conflict can erupt in the Gaza Strip any day –has not yet passed. According to the IDF Chief of General Staff: “We do not allow the current calm to deceive us. We do not let it mislead us. And we will continue our preparations under the assumption that a conflict can erupt in the Gaza Strip any day.”
An IDF official emphasized in a conversation with TV7 that the exercise was planned as part of the military’s 2019 training program, under the directives of Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, with the intent of maintaining the forces readiness for combat.