Despite Israel’s plan to eliminate the many tunnels in Gaza, nine Hamas militants were able to infiltrate Israeli territory Saturday through one of the underground passageways, killing two Israeli soldiers. The death toll in Gaza has climbed to 342, Palestinian officials said.
Sgt. Adar Bersano, 20, and Major Amotz Greenberg, 45, were killed in the cross-border gunfight. According to the IDF, four other soldiers were wounded and one Hamas member was killed.
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The Hamas militants entered Israel in Eshkol from a tunnel beginning in central Gaza. After the two groups began to exchange fire, several of the militants fled back to Gaza through the tunnel, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Two other Hamas militants late Saturday attempted to enter Israel through a tunnel and were immediately killed. The military said the militants had handcuffs and sedatives on their bodies, a sign, the military said, means they intended to kidnap someone.
Can you imagine terror tunnels underneath your home? This is the reality for residents of Israel… pic.twitter.com/irg0Lenqkn
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On Friday, an Israeli soldier was killed, but an early army investigation suggests Eitan Barak, 20, was most likely killed by friendly fire from an Israeli tank.
Even as Hamas continues to use the tunnels, Israeli military officials say they have uncovered 34 tunnel shafts, five of which led to Israel and at least one of which was more than 90 feet deep, military spokesman Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner said. Since Israel’s ground operation began Thursday, more than 450 targets have been bombed, killing more than 70 militants. An additional 13 were sent to Israel for questioning.