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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Multi-phase Hamas attack at Gaza crossing deemed 'worst since pullout'

[] Two IDF soldiers were moderately wounded and 11 others were lightly wounded Saturday morning at the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, when Hamas gunmen initiated a coordinated attack on the Israeli side of the crossing, which included heavy gunfire, mortar shell barrages and two car bombs.

The attack began close to 7 a.m. when two vehicles arrived at the crossing under the cover of heavy fog and one of them detonated near army forces, wounding the 13 soldiers. The second booby-trapped car was spotted by troops after the initial explosion and did not go off, the army said.

Immediately afterwards, an armored car - which may have once belonged to Fatah security forces - arrived at the scene, and its occupants began firing at the soldiers, backed by heavy mortar shell barrages.

Four gunmen, including the driver of the car bomb, were believed to have been killed in the explosion and the exchanges of fire that ensued. Forces then entered Gaza in order to search for remaining members of the cell.

'Most ambitious attack since pullout'

Meanwhile, another armored vehicle was identified approaching the Kissufim crossing, north of Kerem Shalom. An IDF tank fired at the vehicle and hit it, apparently preventing a second attack.

Hamas later released a farewell video of four attackers. Hamas also organized two protests by women and children near two other Gaza crossings