Gaza War on Terror: Scores of Terrorists Killed, 2 Soldiers Dead

The IDF killed 47 Gaza terrorists in counterterrorist operations while Hamas pounded Ashkelon. Two Israeli soldiers paid the ultimate price.

Hana Levi Julian , | updated: 11:20 PM

The Israel Defense Forces killed 47 Palestinian Authority terrorists and wounded 40 others in Gaza over the weekend, according to PA sources. The casualties included several civilians, most during clashes with Hamas gunmen in northern Gaza.  Hamas and allied terrorist groups recently intensified their war against Israel and attacked Ashkelon, injuring several people.

An initial IDF statement quoted PA sources, saying "according to the report,12 of the casualties were civilians. PA [Chairman] Mahmoud Abbas has called on Israel to stop all strikes in Gaza and urged Palestinian [terrorist] groups to halt ongoing rocket attacks on Israeli communities."

A subsequent statement by the IDF spokesperson's office noted, "Since the beginning of last night’s operations, forces have identified nine Grad missile launchings, four which are confirmed as having landed in Israel, near Ashkelon. In addition to this 30 Qassam rockets were fired, 13 of which fell in Israel, and 11 mortar shells were fired, three which fell in Israel."

Intense attacks by Givati and Armored Brigades, backed up by Israel Air Force fighter pilots, eliminated numerous terrorist cells firing mortar shells, rockets, anti-tank missiles and RPG (rocket-propelled grenades).

Two Israeli soldiers paid for their units' success with their lives. Both were members of the IDF's elite Givati Brigade.

One of the soldiers was identified as 20-year-old Staff Sergeant Doron Asulin of Be'er Sheva, a member of the Givati Brigade's patrol battalion. The second soldier is Staff Sergeant Eran Dan Gur, 20 from Jerusalem, a member of the Givati Brigade's Shaked battalion.

Six others suffered shrapnel wounds in the same clash; one officer was moderately wounded and five other soldiers were lightly injured.

IDF soldiers bombed a truck in northern Gaza carrying 160 rockets ready for use against Israel. On Saturday evening, IDF troops attacked the Rafiah police station. At least four people were killed.

More than 180 missiles have been launched at Israel by Gaza terrorists – two rocket launches per hour -- since Wednesday.

On Saturday, reported the IDF in its statement, "A salvo of more than 50 Kassam rockets was launched today from Gaza at Israeli cities and towns in southern Israel, injuring 22 residents of Sderot and Ashkelon and causing severe damage to property. The injured were transported to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon for treatment, which was itself the target of a rocket strike earlier in the week. Over 90 rockets have been launched at southern Israel since Thursday."

Several barrages of Grad missiles were fired at Ashkelon between midnight and 8:00 a.m. Saturday, injuring a woman and two children by flying shrapnel.

Three other people were injured in the port city's Marine Coastal Center late Saturday afternoon.  One was moderately wounded and two others suffered light injuries.

Late Friday afternoon, two Kassam rockets exploded in the Sderot cemetery. Earlier in the day, a rocket scored a direct hit on a house in the western Negev city, lightly wounding one woman and sending a number of others into shock.

Residents in Ashkelon protested Saturday night, calling on the government to take steps to end the attacks and protect the city. The Homefront Command activated the Color Red rocket alert system that was recently installed throughout Ashkelon and has also ordered neighboring towns to be hooked up with the system.

PA officials slammed Israel for the intensifed attacks on Gaza. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas asked the United Nations to intervene and force Israel to stop its counterterrorist activities.

Jordan and Egypt both condemned Israel for the attacks with muted statements accusing the Jewish State of "violating international law" and "[carrying] out these operations without caluclating the consequences on the adopted peace efforts."

Hamas terrorists were recently warned by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit that Egyptian security forces would "cut the legs off" anyone who tried to repeat the terrorists' breach of the Gaza-Egypt border near Rafiah in January. Hamas blew up a 200-meter length of border barrier, enabling hundreds of thousands of Gaza Arabs to flood through the border while attacking Egyptian security personnel as they tried to reseal the barrier.

A report published in Friday's New York Times quoted one Gaza father whose 14-year-old son was killed in the crossfire during an IDF strike on a rocket-launching team. "I couldn't identify the body of my son," he said. "I'm against these rockets, but I am afraid. What can I do?  If I protest they will hit me, they will kill me."

Another Gaza resident interviewed by the Reuters news agency lamented Saturday that it was dangerous to be outside. "We are living in the middle of a battle zone," said 21-year-old Rami Muhammad Ali, interviewed by phone from Jabalya. "We wanted to flee the house, but we've been trapped since last night."