February 26, 2004
Two Arab terrorists, on their way to a mass shooting attack this
morning, were thwarted by an Israeli Army force before they could reach their
target. The force killed both terrorists, but not before the latter killed one
Two Arab terrorists, on their way to a mass shooting attack on the
Ashkelon-Yad Mordechai highway this morning, were thwarted by an Israeli Army force
before they could reach their target. The force killed both terrorists, but not
before the latter killed one soldier.
Brig.-Gen. Gadi Shamni, Commander of the IDF Forces in Gaza, told reporters
this morning that word had been received of an Arab attempt to carry out a
large-scale terrorist attack from Gaza. The terrorists planned to pass through the
Erez Crossing in northern Gaza, and from there proceed to an area where many
Israeli motorists passed by. Precautions were initiated a few hours before
dawn, including the closing of the Erez industrial zone and the dispatching of
forces to seek out the terrorists.
When the terrorists were discovered, they fired a single shot, and shortly
afterwards fired again, this time killing a soldier and wounding two others.
Reinforcements then arrived, overcoming and killing the attackers.
It is still not clear how the terrorists arrived at the Crossing. Popular
wisdom in the IDF at present is that the terrorists arrived in the area via a
five-meter tunnel they dug under the Gaza perimeter fence.
The Al-Aksa Brigades of Fatah, whose most recent attack was the #14 bus
bombing in Jerusalem this week, took responsibility for this morning’s attack. A
Kalachnikov rifle and grenades were found on the terrorists’ bodies. MK Ehud
Yatom (Likud) said that the terrorists are encouraged by Sharon’s plan to retreat
from Gaza, and wish to encourage it further.
The fallen soldier was the 143rd casualty of Palestinian terrorism since
Israel accepted the Road Map – with 14 reservations – last June, and the 25th
since the beginning of 2004.