A smuggling tunnel exploded in southern Gaza on Thursday evening, as a group of IDF soldiers were in the middle of an operation to uncover it.
One of the soldiers was very lightly wounded in the incident. An official IDF statement noted that the explosion caused damage to an empty military vehicle that was standing nearby.
IDF Spokesman Yoav Mordechai said on Thursday evening that over the past two weeks there have been a number of incidents near the border fence with Gaza, during which explosive devices had been detonated near soldiers.
As a result, said Mordechai, new Gaza Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Mickey Edelstein ordered soldiers from the IDF’s Givati Brigade to operate in the area and locate explosives and tunnels.
“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli citizens and security forces, and will continue to operate against anyone who operates terror against Israel,” said the IDF statement, adding that the Hamas terrorist organization, which rules Gaza, is directly responsible for any acts of terror in the region.
Responding to the incident, Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated on Thursday night that Israel views it as a very serious incident.
Barak said that Israel sees Hamas as being responsible for the explosion and added that Israel will examine how and when to respond.
On Thursday morning, an IDF tank was hit by a mortar fired by Gaza terrorists near Kibbutz Nirim.
The Arabs engaged the IDF while on an engineering mission, and the tank was hit during the ensuing firefight. There were no injuries.
On Tuesday, terrorists in Gaza blew up a bomb and shot at Israeli soldiers, who returned fire.
Three soldiers were lightly wounded, and one of them was flown by helicopter to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva. The other two were treated at the scene.