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Israel Defense Forces soldiers and their commanding officers stationed at the military base near Kibbutz Nahal Oz for the past year and a half have been trying to get the base moved as a result of mortar fire.

IDF troops serving at the base say they have approached their superiors from the Northern Command and requested that the military base be relocated to the area near Kibbutz Reim in the Eshkol Regional Council.

The soldiers say that a second option they suggested was additional reinforcement of the military base against mortar and Qassam rocket fire. Each time, they say, their requests were met with answers such as "We are handling the situation," "Soon," and "The move is being planned."

In the meantime, the soldiers say, their worst fears have been realized, as eight IDF soldiers were wounded Friday evening, two seriously, when Gaza Strip militants fired mortars and hit their military base near in the western Negev.

The soldiers were evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva and to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.

Six soldiers were still hospitalized Saturday. Doctors had to amputate the leg of Noam Nikash, 21, who was brought to the hospital in serious condition. One of the doctors told Israel Radio that the soldier "was seriously hurt in both legs. He was immediately brought to the operating room where several teams of surgeons operated on him all night. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to amputate his leg, in hopes that we managed to save the other leg. He is currently on a ventilator and unconscious."

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday morning, while the Popular Resistance Committees made the same proclamation the previous day.

The military base is located near a fuel terminal that supplies much-needed gasoline and cooking fuel to the impoverished Gaza Strip.

According to the Israeli military, Palestinian militants fired a total of 11 mortars at southern Israel from Gaza on Friday. Three of them landed at the base, the IDF said.