Two groups of heavily armed Hamas terrorists were intercepted Monday morning when they emerged from tunnels on the Israeli side of the Gaza-Israel border near two kibbutzim and the town of Sderot.
When the heavily armed and camouflaged terrorists were detected, residents in nearby kibbutzim were told to lock themselves indoors, and traffic was halted on area roads and highways as troops engaged the terrorists in a firefight, killing ten of them.
During the battle, the terrorists fired anti-tank missiles, and Israel Radio reported that there were casualties to Israeli security forces.
In a conference call hosted by The Israel Project, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Israel had no choice but to defend its population against terrorist attacks by the Iran-backed Hamas in Gaza:
It is clear now that these terror tunnels are targeted in order to infiltrate into Israel.
We are focusing now on these tunnels.
This is an operation that we tried to avoid since day one. Israel was acting in a most restrained manner even though we were under attack. We accepted the different ceasefire options before we started and after we started. Basically we are forced now to start this operation in order to defend our civilians.
Hamas is not willing to accept any ceasefire for now.
It is now also clear that Hamas and [its leader Khaled] Maashal are taking hostage the Palestinians in Gaza and basically in the entire world. It is clear that the two different sides in this conflict are not Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, but on one side you have Israel, the legitimate PA (Palestinian Authority), Egypt, Jordan and most of the Arab world. And on the other side you have Hamas and the extremists – those who are not willing to live in peace here.
[Photo: Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades website]