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Hamas militants have been dressing up as Israel Defense Forces soldiers in uniform in an attempt to carry out suicide bombings against Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Tuesday.

Ashkenazi told the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee in Tel Aviv that the militants have tried to penetrate IDF battle lines and detonate their explosives next to Israeli troops.

The IDF Chief also revealed that the army had uncovered a number of tunnels dug with the intent of being used to abduct IDF soldiers.

Ashkenazi said that the Israel Air Force had managed to strike the majority of its targets in the Strip within the first four minutes of the air campaign which began Operation Cast Lead 18 days ago.

Twenty minutes after the IAF's first bombing, it also carried out raids on Gaza sites used by militants to launch Grad rockets, Qassam rockets, and mortar shells.

He added that the government had approved the operation, days before it began and before the IDF had even determined when it was going to launch the campaign. This gave the IDF the ability to begin the operation the moment they decided the conditions were right.