The Security Cabinet has voted to continue its operation in Gaza; Three IDF soldiers killed in Gaza; Five tunnels demolished Wednesday; Hamas resorts to booby-trap tactics; Possible tunnels in northern Israel; Ayatollah calls on Arab nations to arm and support Hamas; Israeli delegation arrives in Cairo for ceasefire negotiations
A terror tunnel from Gaza into southern Israel
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit announced that three IDF soldiers were killed in an operational activity in Gaza on Wednesday morning when a tunnel was found in a UNRWA health clinic Wednesday, the opening to the tunnel also boob-trapped. Several soldiers were injured and three killed.
The IDF released the names of the three fallen:
SSgt. Matan Gottlieb, 21, of Rishon Lezion.
SSgt. Omar Chai, 21, of Savion.
Sgt. Guy Algranati, 20, of Tel Aviv.
The IDF death toll has risen to 56 on Operation Protective Edge’s 23rd day.
Over 27 soldiers have been wounded in the past 24 hours and are currently being treated. Earlier today 9 wounded soldiers were rushed to a hospital in Be’er Sheva, four of them in critical condition. 130 soldiers are currently receiving treatment in hospitals through out Israel.
The IDF successfully demolished five tunnels on Wednesday out of the over 30 tunnels uncovered. IDF forces additionally found a “booby-trapped tunnel in a Gaza home. The home, which was rigged with explosives, detonated and injured several soldiers.
Brig. Gen. Micky Edelstein stated that “militants have used more than a thousand IEDs so far, destroying thousands of buildings in the Gaza Strip” and that “in sweeps of a single street of 28 buildings last night, 19 were found to be booby-trapped.”
The mayor of Kiryat Shemona stated on Wednesday that he is “certain” there are tunnels in northern Israel and informed the IDF with a request to “neutralize them.”
GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman stated on Wednesday that “With the amount of cement Hamas used to build these tunnels, it could have built two hospitals, 20 clinics, 20 schools, and 100 kindergartens,” stating that the IDF is “only a few days away from destroying all the terror tunnels.”
He stated, “The fighting continues, we have killed dozens of Hamas’ elite soldiers and arrested dozens of Hamas fighters. Every day that passes we are closer to achieving our goal of destroying the tunnels….It is important to remember that this is a significant operational and engineering challenge. Hamas has been working on these tunnels for four years and in two weeks we have managed to demolish all of its tunnels.”
On Operation Protective Edge, Turgeman stated that it “has a defined mission, to hit Hamas hard, and destroy the tunnel infrastructure. In every place we identify tunnel infrastructure- we act. No forces are left in the Strip without need. There are no tunnels into our territory. Yesterday we expanded the operations in the center and southern Strip… The aim of the terrorists to attack the towns and people in the area was not achieved. Still, I expect better results from our forces from every encounter with terrorists.”
The Israeli Security Cabinet has voted to continue its mission in Gaza and to “forcefully hit Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza” as well as destroy Hamas’s tunnel network.
A diplomatic source stated on the operation that, “The IDF also has significant achievements in damaging the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas and additional terrorist groups and will continue act and expand these operations,” and that the IDF will continue to provide “and temporary humanitarian truces” without endangering the lives of Israeli soldiers and the operation to destroy the tunnels… The purpose of these truces is to help the civilian population of Gaza.”
The decision comes after the security cabinet provided Gaza with a four hour ceasefire between the hours of 3-7 PM. The IDF reported that the “The humanitarian window will not apply to the areas in which IDF soldiers are currently operating. Residents must not return to areas that have previously been asked to evacuate.”
Just moments into the ceasefire, rockets were fired into Ashdod. By 3;19 PM, a Hamas spokesman stated that the “ceasefire is meaning it doesn’t include the hot areas on the border of the Gaza Strip” accusing Israel of using the truce “for media purposes.”
The Israeli government will meet in Tel Aviv on Thursday to discuss the progress of Operation Protective Edge. And an Israeli delegation has arrived in Cairo to proposals for a truce with Gaza.
Rocket attacks continue, with over 20 rockets and mortar shells fired in an hour span of time towards communities close to the Gaza border. Two of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome.
Al Mayadeen, a Lebanese news agency reported Wednesday evening that the Supreme Ruler of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Arab states to” to rise above political conflicts and support the resistance efforts” of the Palestinian in Gaza. He stated, “We must support our downtrodden brethren that are under attack of the blood hungry Zionist fox” calling on Arab nations to provide Gaza with weapons, food and drugs, and condemned the support the U.S., U.K., and UN are giving Israel.