(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
During the night IDF forces identified an armed terrorist, who infiltrated the Erez terminal, in the northern Gaza Strip.
Initial investigation shows that the terrorist infiltrated the terminal via the Palestinian tunnel that leads to the Israeli terminal, activated an explosive device that created a hole in the tunnel’s wall and entered the courtyard connecting the Israeli and Palestinian checkpoints. The terrorist hurled grenades and opened fire at an IDF post near the courtyard. An IDF force which arrived at the scene shot the terrorist, killing him. No injuries were reported on the Israeli side but damage was caused to the crossing facility.
During the exchanges of fire, three Palestinian policemen on duty at the Palestinian side of the crossing were seriously, moderately and lightly wounded respectively. They were taken by IDF forces to receive medical treatment on the Israeli side of the terminal. In addition, several other policemen were taken to an IDF base near the crossing for protection and questioning.
IDF forces are conducting searches in the area. The terminal will be closed until searches are completed.
This infiltration attack was carried out in the midst of the special humanitarian mission by the IDF and the DCO to enable 4500 Palestinian pilgrims to go to Mecca, to allow freedom of religious ritual. As a result of the terrorist infiltration, the Erez crossing has been temporarily closed. Searches are being conducted in the area. The infiltration attack has delayed the course of the mission, which has been halted until searches in the Erez terminal are completed.
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Previous terrorist attacks at the Erez terminal
(Communciated by Israeli security sources)
Terrorist organizations carry out terrorist attacks at important civilian sites, such as the Erez crossing terminal, sites that contribute much to the welfare of the Palestinian population, in order to sabotage any co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians. Furthermore, by striking at the Palestinians’ ability to earn a living, the terrorist organizations attempt to present Israel as responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians.
A number of terrorist attacks have been carried out at Erez and other terminals in the Gaza Strip since September 2000. To date, one Israeli civilian and 11 security personnel have been killed and ten Israelis wounded in these attacks.
- On January 4, 2005, an Israeli civilian was lightly wounded from two mortar shells that were fired at the Erez industrial zone.
- On January 2, 2005, an Israeli civilian was seriously wounded from a mortar shell that was fired towards the Erez industrial zone.
- On August 31, 2004, a Palestinian terrorist wearing explosive underwear was arrested at the Erez crossing.
- On April 17, 2004, a suicide bomber killed a Border Policeman when he detonated himself at the workers’ crossing terminal into the industrial zone.
- On March 6, 2004, four terrorists traveling in three vehicles (two of which were rigged with explosives) attempted to kill Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers at the Erez crossing.
- On Feb 26, 2004, an IDF reserve soldier was killed when two gunmen infiltrated the Erez industrial zone through a tunnel.
- On Jan 14, 2004, a female terrorist carried out a suicide bombing attack in the workers crossing terminal in the Erez industrial zone, where magnetic entering cards are issued. As a result of the attack, one civilian was murdered, in addition to two IDF soldiers and a Border Policeman. The Hamas and Fatah terrorist organizations claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing. It is important to note that this was the first time that Hamas had used a female suicide bomber. The terminal was severely damaged, and needed to be rebuilt. As a result, Palestinians were not able to enter the industrial zone for a few days.
- On Dec 4, 2003 a package containing components for making an explosive device was discovered in a truck carrying mail out from the Gaza Strip.
- On June 20, 2003, a terrorist attack using a bicycle laden with explosives was thwarted at the Palestinian workers’ crossing near Ganei Tal.
- On June 8, 2003 four IDF soldiers were killed and four others injured when three terrorists infiltrated the IDF post Magen 12, in the Erez industrial zone.
- On April 15, 2003 two Israeli civilians were murdered when Palestinians infiltrated the Karni terminal.
- On Feb 21, 2003 a gunman armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, three hand grenades, four magazines, a knife and a fence cutter infiltrated the Erez industrial zone and was killed.
- On May 12, 2003, an Israeli civilian was murdered when a Palestinian worker opened fire at him at the Hila crossing.
- On April 20, 2002, a Border Police officer was killed when a Palestinian gunman opened fire at an IDF post in Erez.
- On April 12, 2004, a Border Police officer was killed when a Palestinian gunman opened fire at the Erez terminal.
- On Nov 26, 2001, four IDF soldiers were lightly injured when a suicide bomber blew him self up at the entrance of the Erez terminal.