IDF Lieutenant Colonel ‘M’ was killed and another officer was moderately wounded in a fire exchange that erupted between an Israeli Special Force conducting a mission in Gaza and Hamas terrorists late Sunday night.
At least seven Muslim terrorists, including a Hamas leader in the Khan Yunis area, were eliminated in Gaza after a heavy fire exchange with IDF forces. All the eliminated terrorists are part of the Hamas terror group armed wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, whose sole mission is to murder Jews.
IDF Special Forces entered 2 miles into Gaza in a civilian vehicle on Sunday evening as a part of an undercover mission.
The force was exposed and an exchange of fire erupted while an Israeli aircraft accompanied the ground forces.
Late Sunday, responding to rumors and reports in Israel, the IDF took an unusual step and issued a statement denying that a soldier was abducted during the operation.
The wounded officer was in moderate but stable condition and was admitted to the intensive care unit at Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva after undergoing an operation.
Lt. Col. M was the most senior soldier killed in Gaza since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge.
The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit said about the lieutenant colonel that “His actions will not be published in the media but he deserves our salute. His actions led to Israel having superiority over its enemies.”
A statement by the IDF said that a force was hurt during the first fire exchange and that the shooting occurred while “the special force carried out a lengthy operation and encountered a very complex reality.”
The IDF spokesperson’s office added that “What was revealed tonight is the very tip of operations that are carried out regularly and the purpose of which is to enable Israel’s superiority as it exists today.”
“I am stunned and I am grieving the loss of the IDF officer killed tonight,” President Reuven Rivlin said. “I pray, together with all Israeli citizens, for the health of the wounded officer.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said: “The Israeli people lost an industrious fighter tonight, whose contribution to the state will remain confidential for many years.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that “We send our condolences to the family and pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded. Thanks to heroes like these, we can all live here safely.”
Seventeen rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza since the escalation broke out, with Iron Dome missiles intercepting three of the projectiles.
The Home Front Command announced Sunday night that school would be canceled on Monday in the Gaza border communities. The Israel Railways shut down the Ashkelon-Beer Sheva line due to the security situation. Trains coming from the north will terminate their operation in Ashkelon, while the Sderot, Ofakim and Netivot stations will remain closed.