Soldier Killed During Counter-Terrorist Operation; Rockets At Sderot

Corp. Lior Ziv, 19, of Holon, was buried this afternoon, after he was killed in a counter-terrorism operation in Rafiach this morning.


Corp. Lior Ziv, 19, of Holon, was buried this afternoon in the military section of the cemetery in his hometown. The fallen soldier, a photographer for the IDF Spokesman's office, was engaged in filming the IDF operation in Rafiach early this morning when he fell victim to a burst of Arab gunfire.

The large-scale offensive against arms-smuggling tunnels and other terrorism
infrastructures in Rafiach, which began last night and ended this morning, involved dozens of tanks and helicopter cover. Three soldiers were wounded in the battle, including one in serious condition and one moderately. The Palestinian Authority reports five dead on its side, as well as more than 40 wounded.

The army troops discovered and destroyed two tunnels leading from Egypt to the PA-controlled area of Rafiach, one of which was 30 meters in length. Gaza Formation Commander Brig.-Gen. Gad Shamni said today that the tunnels serve as a main artery for the Arabs' continuing terrorist activities. He said that a total of 17 arms-smuggling tunnels linking Egypt to the Gaza Strip have been discovered and destroyed since the start of 2003.

As the troops were leaving Rafiach this morning, Arabs fired three Kassam rockets towards Sderot in the Negev. One of the missiles hit an apartment building and caused a fire in an upper lobby; one woman was reported to be suffering from smoke inhalation. Several mortar shells were also fired by PA terrorists at Jewish communities and an IDF outpost in northern and southern Gaza yesterday, with one of the shells landing near a synagogue. There were no injuries.

Elsewhere in Israel, PA terrorist gunmen continued their attacks during the night: An armored military vehicle came under fire in Jenin; a resident of the Shomron community of Peduel was targeted in a bomb attack. Security forces found a second explosive device ready in the area; gunfire was directed at an army position in the northern Shomron community of Kadim; and Arabs threw rocks at Jews in Hevron, at the central Gross Square. There were no injuries in any of the incidents.

Israeli security forces remain on heightened alert today, in an ongoing effort to prevent terrorist attacks. Capital police are focusing special attention on areas such as Jerusalem's Old City. In addition to the counter-terrorism successes in Gaza, army forces during the night arrested two wanted suspects in PA-controlled Balata, in the Shechem district. The two, a male and female, were turned over to the custody of the GSS (General Security Service - Shin/Bet).