PM Olmert: The State of Israel views the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by Chairman Abu Mazen and the Palestinian government as responsible for this event – with all this implies.
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
This morning (Sunday, 25 June 2006) in the course of an infiltration and attack by terrorists in the area of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, an IDF officer and a soldier were killed, a soldier was abducted, and four others were wounded.
The soldiers killed have been identified as Lt. Hanan Barak, 20, of Arad and Staff-Sgt. Pavel Slutzker, 20, of Dimona. Cpl. Gilad Shalit is missing in action.
At 5:40 in the morning, terrorists from the Hamas and Popular Resistance Committees terror organizations infiltrated into Israel through a tunnel originating from the Rafah area, passing under the security fence to the area between the Kerem Shalom and Sufa crossings. The terrorists,operating under cover of mortar and anti-tank fire from within the Gaza Strip, attacked attacked an armored personnel carrier, an IDF tank and a watchtower. IDF forces returned fire, killing at least two terrorists.
This attack was carried out and spearheaded by senior members of the Hamas and authorized by the party’s leadership.
The IDF holds the Palestinian Authority and the democratically elected Hamas government responsible for the attack and the fate of the missing soldier.
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On June 26, IDF forces detonated the tunnel which was used during the terrorist infiltration into the Kerem Shalom area. IDF forces uncovered the opening of the tunnel inside a Palestinian house located about 350 meters from the fence. The length of the tunnel was about 650 meters.