Israeli ground and naval forced completely sealed off the Gaza borders in an attempt to prevent what an Israeli military spokesperson described as “any attempt to smuggle the abducted Israeli soldier out of the Gaza Strip”.
Three Palestinian resistance fighters and two Israeli soldiers were killed in the attack launched by Palestinian resistance early Sunday at dawn at the Israeli military post of Ker em Shalom in the southern Gaza Strip. Shalit captured and five other soldiers were injured.
According to military sources in Israel, the fighters used an 800-meter-long tunnel to attack the post near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, Israeli military source reported.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army tightened security around the Gaza Strip, while the Navy ordered a shutdown on Gaza Tuesday night, and has increased patrols of navy ships along the Gaza coast, the Israeli Ynetnews reported.
All Palestinian fast boats have been banned, while only small fishing boats with limited speed were allowed on the sea.
An Israeli military spokesperson said that the Navy is preparing for the possibility that fighters would attempt to smuggle the abducted soldier outside of the Gaza Strip.
The army also requested the Egyptian security forces to seal the Philadelphi Route in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and started additional operations along the borders between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
The recent orders came while the army is preparing for a possible large scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip; dozens of tanks and armored vehicles, Infantry corps, the engineering corps, and other forces have begun have been positioned near the Gaza border.
A senior Israeli military commander accused the Hamas party of involvement in the attack and charged that “he could say with certainty” that the fighters planned to abduct an Israeli soldiers with the approval of the highest ranks at the Hamas-led Palestinian government.
The commander added that the fighters set up a secret place to hide the soldier and instructed their members not to reveal his location.
Meanwhile, foreign diplomats in Gaza who initiated mediation efforts said on Sunday that the abducted soldier is in a good condition, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.
Haaretz added that the diplomats said they they have information on the location of the soldier and the group that captured him, but did not relay the information to its reporters.
The diplomats said that the soldier was wounded but in a good health, and that the fighters who captured him promised to treat him well.