JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli forces foiled an infiltration attempt that its military said was aimed at carrying out a major terror attack.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) identified 13 armed men exiting a tunnel inside Israel early Thursday morning by a kibbutz near the Gaza border. Once the men realized they had been spotted, they attempted to dive back into the tunnel, but were thwarted by an Israeli airstrike. The IDF said some of the infiltrators were injured.
The IDF said the Hamas terrorists planned to attack civilians living in an Israeli kibbutz, the IDF said in a statement. According to photos taken by the IDF, the infiltrators were carrying weapons including shoulder-mounted RPGs, or rocket-propelled grenades.
Hours after the infiltration attempt, the IDF posted video of the infiltration and the airstrike on the tunnel opening.
Hamas took responsibility for the attempted infiltration and said all its members returned home, according to the Times of Israel. Palestinian radio in Gaza aired a report that the infiltrators killed and injured Israelis, but the IDF said it had no reports of deaths or injuries.
Residents of Kibbutz Sufa and nearby communities had been instructed to remain in their homes in the hours after the infiltration attempt while Israeli troops searched the area.