Saturday morning, Israeli troops invaded the Gaza Strip through Sofa Crossing east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Strip, and arrested two Hamas gunmen after surrounding a house in the city.
Palestinian security sources in Rafah reported that an under-cover unit of the Israeli army advanced hundreds of meters into the Palestinian Authority territory and arrested two brothers identified as Mustafa and Usama Mo’ammar.
Usama has recently returned from Sudan, while his brother is a student at the Islamic University in Gaza.
Eyewitnesses in Rafah reported that troops beat the father, Ali Muammar, who was transferred to the European Hospital in Rafah.
Israeli army officials confirmed the invasion and claimed that the two brothers are involved in planning “an attack in the immediate future”.
Besides its recent escalation of shelling and targeted killings, where dozens civilians, mainly children, were killed and injured, three Islamic Jihad members were killed after the army invaded Beit Lahia and exchanged fire with them.
The ground operation was carried out under air coverage by the Israeli air force.
Army sources reported that the Beit Lahia operation aimed at opening routes near the border fence and detonating explosive devices placed in the area.
Also, a senior Israeli military official said that such an operation of ground offensive in the Gaza Strip is complicated and very risky to the soldiers, but “apparently the two arrestees hold important informations, therefore soldiers chose not to assassinate them in an air strike but to capture them alive”.
The official added that this operation “proves that Hamas is still planning to harm Israeli soldiers and civilians”.