New details about the IDF’s covert operation inside the Gaza Strip on Nov. 11 have emerged alleging that the commandos entered the coastal enclave in different times and from different locations so as not to arouse the suspicion of Hamas security forces, a Lebanese newspaper reported Wednesday.
A special forces officer identified only as Lt. Col. M. was killed and another soldier was wounded during a clash with Hamas operatives in the southern Gaza Strip, and seven Hamas operatives were killed in the incident.
Information released by the Israel Defense Forces so far said that Israeli special forces operating in the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis were discovered by Hamas operatives at a checkpoint. A fierce gunfight erupted, and the Israeli troops found themselves trapped in their vehicle.
Lt. Col. M. reportedly opened fire to draw attention away from his comrades, enabling them to leave their vehicle and charge the enemy. His action enabled the team to radio for aerial assistance, which arrived within minutes to extract them.
On Wednesday, Lebanon’s al-Akhbar newspaper, which is affiliated with the Hezbollah terrorist group, quoted a senior Hamas official as saying that the Israeli commandos entered Gaza through the Erez pedestrian crossing, in the Gaza Strip’s north, while their equipment was delivered through the Kerem Shalom cargo crossing, in its south.
The Israeli troops were carrying fake IDs and once inside Gaza, they met with a Palestinian collaborator who readied two vehicles for them, the official said.
He said that while the main vehicle used by the Israeli troops was destroyed by the IAF during the force’s extraction, Hamas was able to seize what he called “sensitive equipment and documents.”
The paper reported that Arab Israelis and Palestinians tipped Hamas off as to the location of the troops in Khan Yunis, and that Hamas had monitored the force’s movements and was able to expose most of its missions.
The report reiterated Hamas’s claim that the Israeli commandos sought to abduct or assassinate a top operative. The IDF maintains the botched operation was a top-secret intelligence-gathering mission.