IDF soldier, first sergeant Erez Ashkanazi, age 21, from Kibbutz Reshafim, was killed and another soldier lightly wounded by an explosive device activated against IDF troops last night during an operation in the Bakshi neighborhood in the area of the Netzarim junction (Northern Gaza Strip). The families of the soldiers have been notified.

In a joint operation, infantry forces, special forces, the tank corps and fighter helicopters operated to arrest Hamas terrorists in two buildings planning an attack against Israeli soldiers and civilians on the Karni-Netzarim road. All those arrested were members of the Hamas who had been involved in the planting of explosives and the firing of Qassam rockets at Jewish communities in the northern Gaza Strip. Three terrorists were killed in the operation, and three others were arrested.

During the operation, terrorists belonging to the El-Rul family opened fire, threw grenades and detonated explosives towards IDF troops. As a result, one IDF soldier was killed, and one was lightly injured. IDF troops returned fire, killing two terrorists, Amran and Mohammad El-Rul.

In the exchange of fire, a third terrorist, Mahmoud El-Rul, was injured, treated on the spot, and then transported to an Israeli hospital for continued treatment. After searches by IDF troops of the El-Rul house, the building was demolished, as it had been used as a base for terrorist activity and the production of explosives. Zacharia Saidi, an armed terrorist, fired on IDF troops from the second building. The terrorist was shot and killed.

During the operation, two terrorists, Dwayv and Akra Saidi, were arrested inside the building. In searches conducted by IDF troops on the premises, weapons were found, including a Kalashnikov rifle, a pistol, grenades, and a signifcant amount of explosive material.

After the search was concluded, the Saidi house was demolished, as it had used as a location for terrorist operations and their planning. During the operation, there were several exchanges of fire between IDF soldiers and additional terrorists firing light weapons and anti tank missiles. Grenades were also hurled at IDF troops. At the operation’s conclusion, IDF troops left the area.

It should be noted that the above-mentioned operation prevented very serious terrorist attacks from being carried out against Israeli civilians and soldiers on the Karni-Netzarim road.