Hamas fails to kidnap Israeli soldiers in major assault from Gaza
debkafile‘s military sources report at least four Palestinians killed after Israeli air force helicopters went into action against Palestinian gunmen who mounted coordinated assaults at several points on the border early Monday, June 8. At least three Palestinian organizations, Hamas, Jihad Islami and Fatah-al Aksa Brigades plus the al Qaeda cell, opened automatic-machine gun-mortar fire on the Nahal Oz sector in the north, the Karni crossing in the center and Nir Oz opposite Khan Younes in the south.
In the Karni sector, 10 gunmen crossed the border, some on horses, under cover of early morning mist and attacked an Israeli Golani patrol in an apparent attempt to snatch soldiers.
A fierce firefight developed under added Palestinian mortar cross-border fire from Gaza. Israeli helicopter missiles struck the mortar crews. Several Palestinian casualties are reported from Sejayia.
As Golani reinforcements drove across the border in pursuit of the gunmen, Palestinians blasted Israel forces in the Nahal Oz sector with mortars. Israeli tanks and helicopters struck back.
At Nir Oz, Israel helicopters fired missiles at the sources of Palestinian fire, causing casualties.
debkafile‘s military sources report that the rejectionist Palestinians who rule Gaza have held back from major armed assaults on this scale since Israel’s Gaza offensive ended in six months ago.
Our sources say they were stirred into action Monday by one non-event and two events:
1. They planned to show the flag for a victorious Hizballah and mark Hamas-Hizballah solidarity by kidnapping a number of Israeli soldiers (after holding Gilead Shalit for more than three years). As it turned out Hizballah was defeated, contrary to all expectations, and Hamas failed to abduct any Israeli soldiers, none of whom were lost or injured.
2. US Middle East envoy George Mitchell arrives in Israel and the Palestinian Authority Monday, June 9. Hamas broadcast a reminder to Washington, Jerusalem and Ramallah that no decisions on the Palestinian issue could be carried through without its assent.
3. This was Hamas’ reply to US president Barack Obama’s Cairo appeal for negotiation and recognition. Orders from Tehran and Damascus, the Palestinian terrorists responded with a fresh round of armed violence.