Israeli soldiers destroy 23 Hamas tunnels and kill 186 terrorists since entering GazaBy Mason White 1:26 PM July 22, 2014
|Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talking to NBC News|
By: Aryeh Savir
(Scroll down for video) The Israeli military has destroyed 23 Hamas tunnels since entering Gaza, the Tazpit News Agency reported.
IDF forces continue to move slowly through the Gaza neighborhoods of Shuja’iya, Jabalya and Beit Lahiya, searching for terror tunnels, weapons caches and terrorist command and control centers.
The fighting is fierce and intense, as Hamas, which has dug these tunnels at great cost, does not want to lose this strategic weapon that enables them to launch coordinated attacks within Israel.
The IDF is determined to destroy as much tunnels as possible, eliminating this threat to the citizens of Israel. 23 terror tunnels have been uncovered by IDF forces since July 17th.
The close-quarters fighting has exacted a heavy toll on IDF soldiers, and 27 soldiers have fallen during Operation Protective Edge.
186 terrorists have been killed in the fighting, 20 over the past night. In total, 23 have been arrested and taken to Israel for questioning.
Speaking to Sky Arabic, Fox and NBC, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “They have taken billions of dollars. Instead of building kindergartens with the money, they’re building tunnels, concrete tunnels to blow up our kindergartens. I can tell you that we opened up a hospital, a field hospital, a humanitarian field hospital on the edge of Gaza, and Hamas doesn’t let the people come there. They’re hiding rockets in hospitals, they’re hiding arms in hospitals, they’re shooting from hospitals. So they just don’t care. I agreed to three different calls for ceasefires. We kept them even though Hamas kept firing and they violated every one of those ceasefire calls, the Egyptian ceasefire, the U.N. ceasefire, and the Red Cross ceasefire. We kept them, they broke them. The goal is to restore quiet and security for the people of Israel for a significant period of time, and we’ll take whatever action is necessary to achieve that goal.”
Reports of another long-term humanitarian cease fire are coming from Arab sources, but Israel has not confirmed the reports. On other fronts in Israel, the IDF intercepted a shipment of weapons in the Dead Sea, which was sent from unknown operatives in Jordan to Palestinian terrorists, a military source said.
At 3:00 a.m., a Palestinian terrorist shot and severely injured a 25-year-old Israeli civilian in the West Bank. IDF Forces searched the area for the suspect, but so far, no arrests have been made.
Four rockets were fired from Gaza overnight, towards Be’er Sheva. One was intercepted by the Iron Dome and three hit open areas. Earlier in the evening, a rocket fired from Gaza hit an open area near Kafr Qasim in central Israel, nearly 100 km from Gaza.
In the past 24 hours, more than 139 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel. At least 116 rockets hit Israel. 17 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense systems. The IDF struck 150 terror targets in the Gaza Strip.
Since the start of Operation Protective Edge, over 2040 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel. Of them 1,570 hit Israel and 396 were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense systems. The IDF has targeted over 2,924 terror targets with ground, naval and aerial capabilities.