The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) releases footage showing how it thwarted an attempt by 13 Hamas militants to infiltrate Israel from a tunnel in Gaza

By Camilla Turner /

The Israeli military has released footage showing how it successfully foiled an attack by 13 Hamas militants attempting to infiltrate Israel through a tunnel from Gaza.

An Israeli aircraft struck the fighters at the mouth of the tunnel some 250 metres (820 feet) inside Israel, near a kibbutz.

The showdown took place just hours before the two sides halted fire for a five-hour humanitarian truce.

Peter Lerner, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman, said that the truce would go ahead despite the incident.

“The IDF intercepted 13 Hamas terrorists intercepting [infiltrating] Israel near kibbutz Sufa on the southern Gaza Strip,” said. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman.

“This was an attempted attack to kill, murder, and maim — perhaps abduct — Israelis on the southern border.

“This is the type of threat we have been talking about over the last 10 days that can emerge from this area. We were successful in intercepting them.

“Our surveillance capabilities picked up on them and then we engaged and prevented this attack against Israel.”

The military footage showed a number of individuals creeping around what appeared to be a hole in the ground. Another shot showed an explosion from an airstrike at the entrance to the tunnel.

Hamas’s military wing claimed responsibility for the infiltration, saying in a statement that “during the withdrawal after the completion of its mission”, the militants were struck by “jet fighters”. It said the group returned safely, however, and that no one was killed.

Mr Lerner said the IDF believed that at least one militant was killed in the strike and that the remaining fighters appeared to have returned to Gaza through the tunnel.

This is the second time militants have attempted to infiltrate Israeli territory during the recent exchange of hostilities. Last week, four fighters were killed when they attempted to gain entry to Israel from the sea.

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