IDF Finishes Destroying Tunnels and Kills Islamic Jihad Commander

Gaza operation enters its 28th day after a major withdrawal of Israeli forces over the weekend.

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IDF soldiers investigating a tunnel in Gaza
File Photo: IDF soldiers investigating a tunnel in Gaza.Credit: IDF

The Israel Defense Forces demolished the last of Hamas’ tunnels on Monday and killed a key Islamic Jihad commander as Operation Protective Edge entered its 28th day after a major withdrawal over the weekend.

The day was relatively quiet due to the seven-hour humanitarian cease-fire that Israel declared starting at 10 A.M. The truce did not apply to the east Rafah area, where fighting continued. During the cease-fire, mortar shells were fired at Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip’s Beit Hanun area.

The Palestinian death toll in Gaza has now reached 1,730, according to the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers have died in the fighting, and three civilians have been killed in Israel.

By the end of the day, the IDF was demolishing the last of Hamas’ tunnels, some of which have been used for attacks on the Israeli side.

Two soldiers were lightly wounded after a mortar shell fired from Gaza hit a military staging area near the border. A mortar shell also hit a greenhouse in the Eshkol region. No injuries were reported but property was damaged. A few minutes earlier a rocket was intercepted over Ashdod.

The Shin Bet security service said Israeli forces had struck a building housing the commander of Islamic Jihad’s northern sector, Danyal Mansour. The militant, in charge of the organization’s intelligence in Gaza and responsible for rocket fire during Israel’s 2012 air offensive, was killed.

“We’ve struck Hamas and the terror organizations with a harsh blow,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after meeting with officials from Southern Command. “We have no intention of harming the residents of Gaza, it is Hamas that is harming them and also trying to prevent them from receiving humanitarian aid.”

The Palestinian news agencies Wafa and Ma’an reported that the air force had struck targets in the Shati and Nuseirat refugee camps. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, an 8-year-old girl was killed in an attack on a home in Shati and 30 were wounded.

A total of 63 mortar shells and rockets landed in Israel on Monday by the evening, three in built-up areas, the IDF said. Ten rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome.

The day’s events included two rockets intercepted over the Ashkelon area and two over Sderot. Mortar shells landed in open areas in the Eshkol area. Also, the military police are investigating an Israeli infantryman suspected of stealing cash from a Gaza house. The soldier has confessed.

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