(JNS.org) Nine more Israeli soldiers and officers were killed in fighting, bringing the number of Israeli military casualties to 27 since the start of the Israel Defense Forces’ ground operation in Gaza. That death toll exceeds the total of 19 Israeli soldiers who died during the Jewish state’s two previous Gaza campaigns, Operation Pillar of Defense of 2012 and Operation Cast Lead of 2008-09.
Four of the nine soldiers were killed when Hamas terrorists, wearing Israeli military uniforms, emerged from a tunnel in Israel and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an approaching IDF jeep patrol near Kibbutz Nir Am. In response, the IDF killed 10 Hamas gunman.
The IDF also released a video showing the Hamas terrorists infiltrating Israel and subsequently being taken out as they attempted to return to Gaza via the tunnel.
“We paid a heavy price, but we averted a grave disaster,” IDF Southern Command General Sami Turgeman said in a statement. “There is no Iron Dome protection against tunnel infiltration.”
Three Israeli soldiers were killed in operations in the Gaza neighborhood of Shejaiya after they were hit by an anti-tank missile, and two Nahal Brigade soldiers were killed overnight, the IDF said Tuesday.