At least three Palestinian resistance fighters and two Israeli soldiers were killed in an attack launched by Palestinian resistance early Sunday morning at the Israeli military post of Kerem Shalom in the southern Gaza Strip. One Israeli soldier was captured and five other soldiers were wounded in the attack, Palestinian and Israeli sources reported.
The attack was carried out by fighters from three different Palestinian resistance groups including Al-Qassm brigade, the armed wing of the ruling Hamas party, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and a formerly unknown group calling itself the Islamic Army, a press release by the three groups said on Sunday.
Israeli military sources warned the international observers at the Rafah crossing point between the Gaza Strip and Israel that Palestinians are planning an attack there just days before the attack happened. The observers decided to leave the terminal after the Israeli warning.
Abu Obaida, spokesman of the Qassam Brigade, said the fighters managed to come very close to the military base and was able to abduct an Israeli soldier and wound several others in addition to causing damage to military vehicles and installations in the base.
Israeli army spokesperson dismissed this claim saying that six soldiers were wounded when Palestinian fighters attacked an Israeli tank patrolling near the camp. The spokesperson said the troops were wounded when clashes with light weapon erupted between the soldiers and the fighters.
The army said they believe the fighters managed to sneak through a tunnel they dug through the borders.
Yet another Israeli official source confirmed the death of two soldiers and that a third soldier is missing. The source refrained to mention the names of the dead troops.
Fighters who were not killed in the attack managed to return to Rafah. Palestinian eyewitnesses said they saw an Israeli Apache was flying low over Rafah and was shooting at fighters.
Abu Obaida called the military attack “Vanishing Illusion,” saying it is a response to the assassination of Jamal Abu Samahdana, leader of the PRC, and the daily attacks on Palestinian civilians and resistance fighters.
Contradicting the Israeli source, Abu Obaida said a fierce fight erupted between the soldiers and the fighters. But another Hamas source said that all the fighters who carried out the attack returned safe to their base.