IDF special forces soldier killed in shootout

An IDF special forces soldier was killed and another injured during special operations in the Gaza Strip, Sunday night. 

By World Israel News Staff

A special forces soldier in an elite IDF unit was killed in an exchange of fire in the Gaza Strip, Sunday night.

Hours after the incident, the IDF identified the slain officer as Lt. Col. M., but disclosed no further details.

A second soldier was wounded and evacuated to Soroka hospital in Beersheba.

“During IDF special forces’ operational activity in Gaza, an exchange of fire broke out, during which an IDF officer was killed and an additional IDF officer was moderately injured,” the IDF announced shortly before 2 a.m. Israel time.

The news follows earlier reports of an Israeli airstrike Sunday night in which five terrorists were killed including a senior Hamas commander. That attack now appears to have come after the special forces operation.

The goal of the IDF operation was to kill or capture Nur Barakeh, commander of the eastern battalion of Hamas’s Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades in the city of Khan Yunis, according to reports.

The IDF force reportedly entered three kilometers into the Gaza Strip in a civilian vehicle. Something went wrong during the operation and the force came under fire. The Israeli Air Force was then called in and eliminated seven terrorists from Hamas.

The Al-Qassam Brigades issued the following statement:

“A special force of the Zionist enemy infiltrated using a civilian car in the area of ​​the Shahid Ismail Abu Shanab mosque, 3 km east of Khan Younis. This force killed the commander of the Al-Qassam Brigades, Nur Barakeh. After they were exposed and our Mujahideen pursued them and made contact with them, the enemy air force intervened and carried out attacks to cover the retreat of this force, and in the process some of our people were killed.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Paris for a peace conference, decided to cut short his trip due to the escalating tensions and return to Israel.

Earlier Sunday evening, sirens sounded in the area of the Eshkol Regional Council, part of the Gaza belt surrounding the Hamas-controlled Strip. Southern residents say they heard loud explosions and were told by authorities to stay near protected areas. The Home Front Command said schools in the Gaza belt will be closed Monday due to the security situation.