A Palestinian sniper injured an Israeli soldier outside the Gaza Strip Friday, May 21, shortly after a firefight with Palestinian gunmen who managed to cross in from southern Gaza between kibbutzim Nirim and Nir-Oz and advance some 100 meters into Israel while exchanging fire with troops of the Givati Brigade. Two terrorists were killed by tank fire. There were no Israeli casualties in that incident.A Hamas spokesman said they had been sent on "an operation to attack Israel." Jihad Islami claimed its men also took part in the battle. Troops combing the area discovered a second penetration further south near Holit opposite the Sufa crossing. The intruder was detained. Civilians were told to stay indoors and roads were closed during these incidents.
Overnight, the Israeli Air force struck three Gaza tunnels after a Qassam missile exploded in the Ashekelon region.
debkafile's military sources report a rising number of Palestinian infiltrations from the Gaza Strip in recent weeks, although they were never got as far as they did Friday. The Palestinian Hamas, Hizballah, Jihad Islami and al Qaeda-linked groups are believed to be bringing pressure on Israel's borders ahead of the countrywide homeland security exercise Turning-Point 4 beginning Sunday, May 23.
Hizballah's South Lebanon commander Nabil Qauq announced Friday his organization was on war preparedness and thousands of fighters were on their way to the Israeli border region.
Hizballah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah declared in a speech marking the 10th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon that "Since the South was liberated (in 2000), Israel began to experience one setback after another…"
As they spoke, Lebanese military sources reported finding a rocket near the S. Lebanese village of Hasbaya, and indicated it may have been positioned in readiness for launching against Israel. On Oct. 27, 2009, during the joint Israeli-US Juniper Cobra 10 exercise, Palestinian groups linked to Hizballah and al Qaeda fired two rockets at Galilee Panhandle.