An Israeli military invasion, which began early this afternoon, is still on-going in Abassan, the area east of Khan Younis, say residents of the region.
When the incursion began, Jaber, from the area (Faraheen, Abassan) reported at least 2 Apache helicopters, 1 F-16 Israeli warplane, 5 tanks, 2 bulldozers and IOF soldiers invading the Abassan area east of Khan Younis.
The local radio reports that 2 IOF soldiers were killed, 2 Palestinian resistance fighters have been martyred, and many civilians from the area injured by IOF shooting and shelling.
Jaber later reported 6 civilians were known to be injured, among them a 10 year old child. Two of the wounded are reportedly critically injured.
Al Jazeera reports that 2 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 2 more injured.
Al Jaz further reports:
“An Israeli army force raided 500 metres into Palestinian territory, and was confronted by our gunmen,” Abu Obeida, a Hamas spokesman, said.
“This was our work, but was carried out for defence.”
“The al-Qassam Brigades gave a press conference and said that at 2:30pm local time an Israeli incursion began into Gaza. Israeli soldiers on foot, tanks and helicopters crossed into Gaza and the al-Qassam Brigades responded with sniper fire.
Witnesses said Friday’s exchange of fire began when an explosion, possibly caused by an anti-armour rocket fired from the nearby Palestinian town of Khan Younis, hit an Israeli army patrol on the central Gazan border.
Backed by tanks, the troops fired back at their assailants and entered Gazan territory, the witnesses said.
Muawiya Hassanein, director of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, said two were killed. Hassanein said ambulances were dispatched to the area to evacuate victims, but Israeli forces denied them access.
Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said its forces killed two soldiers and injured another after Israeli forces entered the Gaza Strip for reasons that were not clear.
“Clashes erupted between Al-Qassam resistance fighters and Israeli soldiers, who crossed 500 meters inside the border,” said Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida.
“Brigades responded with heavy shelling and gunfire, causing fatalities and injuries among the soldiers,” he told Al-Aqsa TV, the Hamas movement’s official television station.
Abu Obeida said Al-Qassam forces acted in self defense after Israeli forces crossed into Gaza. “This was the result of fighting back Israeli forces proceeding inside the border,” he said.
Fatah’s military wing, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, said its forces intervened after an undercover Israeli unit was spotted in Khan Younis.
“Brigades fighters are clashing fiercely with Israeli soldiers in Khan Younis, where seven mortar shells were fired on armored Israeli vehicles. Forces confirmed hitting these vehicles directly,” a statement said.
Forces were “surrounding an undercover Israeli army unit near the Abu Asfur and Abu Iteimah properties in Khan Younis. A roadside bomb was detonated, after which aircraft landed to evacuate the injured.”
As of 8:20 pm Jaber from Faraheen said there were roughly 20 tanks at the border east of Faraheen and still F-16 and Apaches circling above.