Preliminary reports say that large IDF forces, with Apache helicopter cover, entered Bakshi and encircled the home of Hamas military leader Amran Al-Awal. He refused to give himself up, and in the ensuing exchange of fire, he, his cousin and another cell member terrorist were killed.
In the course of the battle, IDF St.-Sgt. Erez Ashkenazi of Kibbutz Reshafim was killed and another soldier was lightly wounded. At the same time down the block, Fatah terrorist Muhammad Abu Atiye was killed in a similar shoot-out. The Israeli forces then razed the two houses. Al-Awal was the nephew of major terrorist Adnan Al-Awal who himself was saved from an Israeli targeted-killing last year.
Israel considered Al-Awal the nephew a "ticking bomb" and said that he had planned a major terrorist attack for the Netzarim or Karni areas today.
Despite the position taken by left-wing extremists to the effect that precious resources are "wasted" in the protection of the Jewish communities in Gaza, the opposing position of many IDF officials was borne out today. The latter feel that the presence of the communities provides the "excuse" needed for IDF forces to be there and head off terror attacks like the one that nearly succeeded today. "If there were no Jewish communities in Gaza, we would have had to build them," Yitzchak Rabin is reported to have said in defense meetings, and Gaza residents say that this has been repeated by many IDF officers since then.