A joint Fatah-Islamic Jihad attack against an IDF outpost, apparently an attempted kidnapping, ended with six terrorists dead. No Israelis were wounded.
"I estimate that the terrorists attempted to capture the army position, and possibly to kidnap soldiers and carry out an attack in Kibbutz Kissufim as well." So said IDF Southern Brigade Commander Col. Shlomi Dahan, speaking with Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman.
Dahan spoke after IDF troops succeeded, based on intelligence information procured by the General Security Service, in thwarting a major terrorist offensive in Gaza Thursday afternoon.
The incident occurred around 3 PM, when two Arab vehicles, a truck and a jeep, were seen speeding towards an IDF outpost alongside the border fence near Kissufim. The Kissufim Crossing was where the Jews of Gush Katif entered and left Gaza up until the Disengagement just over two years ago. Kibbutz Kissufim, inside Israel's pre-'67 borders, is now the westernmost Jewish civilian presence in the area.
IDF forces identified the vehicles some 300 meters from the fence. Israel Air Force aircraft, which were in the air based on an early warning, attacked the vehicles, causing a great explosion. Several additional explosions then occurred in the jeep, indicating the presence of hundreds of kilograms of explosives.
Two terrorists were killed on the spot, and two others who began to escape were killed from the air. Golani Brigade fighters then entered and began combing the area. Two surviving terrorists opened fire, but the soldiers stormed and killed them.
The IDF later reported that some of the dead terrorists were wearing explosives vests, and others had hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades.
The Al-Quds Brigades (Islamic Jihad) and the Al-Aksa Brigades (Fatah) announced afterwards that the objective was to carry out an attack in the IDF outpost. Arab sources say that a seventh terrorist escaped.
Col. Dahan praised his troops: "The force, under the command of the regiment commander, acted excellently. They responded quickly and correctly, and stormed the terrorists even though they were under fire."
One of the terror groups involved in the attack, Fatah, is headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has been meeting recently with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Quartet's Special Envoy Tony Blair ahead of an upcoming Middle East summit to be convened by the United States. Olmert continues to take steps to "strengthen" Fatah against its rival for power in the PA, Hamas.
Four Terrorists Killed Elsewhere
In a separate incident earlier Thursday, an IDF officer was lightly wounded and four terrorists were killed during an anti-Kassam rocket operation. The incident took place in the Khan Yunis area as IDF troops sought out Kassam launchers. The officer was wounded when PA terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF unit in the field, and he was evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva.
One IDF soldier was lightly wounded when PA terrorists fired eight mortar shells towards Sderot on Thursday evening. He was evacuated to Barzilai Hospital with shrapnel injuries.
In the Shomron (Samaria) terrorist capital Jenin on Thursday morning, Israeli forces apprehended a wanted Islamic Jihad terrorist. He was captured with a Kalachnikov rifle, two grenades and a combat vest on his person. Over 30 explosive devices and other ammunition was found in his car. The Israeli forces were attacked by a mob of Arabs during the course of the arrest. The mob hurled two explosive devices at the Israelis, none of whom were hurt.
IDF soldiers escaped injury Thursday night when Palestinian terrorists set off an explosive device during an IDF patrol near Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem.
A mob of Arabs threw heavy rocks at an Israeli bus late Thursday afternoon near the Arab village of Beit Omar, between Hevron and Gush Etzion. No injuries were reported. Despite increased IDF efforts to arrest the perpetrators of rock attacks, attacks continue throughout Judea and Samaria.
Twenty-four wanted terrorists were arrested by IDF forces over the course of Wednesday and Thursday nights in various Judea/Samaria areas.