Hamas targets IDF bus with anti-tank missile, soldier lightly injured

Israel’s war against Hamas continues with IDF strikes and rocket fire despite an eight-hour lull overnight.

Hamas’s Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades targeted a bus that had been carrying Israeli soldiers north of the Gaza Strip with an anti-tank missile and subsequently launched a barrage of mortar shells towards the site where the bus allegedly was targeted on Thursday morning.

The IDF reported that the bus was empty and one soldier was lightly injured in the incident, which was on its way to pick up 10 soldiers who were on a mission near Gaza.

The report came after rocket sirens sounded in southern Israel after a more than eight-hour period in which none were sounded.

The attack also comes amid reports in Israeli and international media claiming that a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas could be reached by Friday, despite a number of statements by officials from both sides saying that a ceasefire was not going to be reached soon.

The driver of the bus told KAN news about the attack, saying “I dropped off the soldiers, turned around and then there was the hit. The whole vehicle shook, it was a miracle. About 30 soldiers got off a few seconds before and dispersed. I will continue to drive for soldiers. Thank God no one was hurt – the cabin is not protected, everything is plastic.”

After the attack, residents of communities within four kilometers of the Gaza border were ordered to stay in their homes near shelters and residents of Netiv Ha’Asara were ordered to actually stay in shelters until further notice.
Last week, IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Omer Tabib was killed and three others were wounded after a Kornet anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) was fired by Hamas terrorists toward their jeep near the southern Israeli community.

In November 2018, a round of fighting between Hamas and Israel broke out after a Kornet was fired toward a bus full of soldiers at the Black Arrow Memorial Site in the Sha’ar Hanegev region. One soldier was critically injured in the 2018 attack. More than 460 rockets were fired toward southern Israel after that attack.

The IDF continued to strike targets in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, conducting a wave of strikes against Hamas’s underground infrastructure in the Gaza Strip overnight and targeting two weapons warehouses on Thursday morning. Later in the morning, the IDF struck a rocket launcher and prevent rockets from being launched toward Israel.

On Thursday morning, the IAF targeted a tunnel used by Hamas and two underground rocket launchers that were used to fire rockets at Tel Aviv in the past week. It also hit a Hamas war room which, among other things, conducted combat during the current round of fighting.

About 70 rockets were fired towards Israel between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., according to the IDF, with 10 of them falling within the Gaza Strip and 90% of those reaching Israel intercepted by the IDF. From 1 a.m. until 9 a.m., no rocket sirens sounded in Israel.

The Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), took responsibility for the rocket fire that broke the relative calm on Thursday morning. Rockets were fired later towards multiple locations near the Gaza border and near Beersheba.

Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force commander Esmail Qaani sent a letter to al-Qassam Brigades commander Mohammed Deif, expressing support for the Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza on Thursday afternoon.
“This battle opened a new era in the struggle with the enemy. Your resistance writes with blood and fire an equation that the enemy cannot be alone in Jerusalem without a deterrent response,” wrote Qaani.

“I assure you that we are committed to the covenant that the martyr of Jerusalem, the leader [former Quds Force commander] Qassem Soleimani, made with you,” added Qaani. “We are in the era of Soleimani. We will not leave Palestine alone, no matter how much the pressure grows and the siege intensifies.”

“The enemy knows that Palestine today is not alone, but has with it an axis of resistance that is getting wider, stronger and more cohesive,” wrote Qaani. “Jerusalem is the compass of the axis of resistance.”

Qaani also sent a letter to al-Quds Brigades commander Akram al-Ajouri, promising continued support
“Your capabilities exceed what the enemy has seen so far, and even what he imagines,” wrote Qaani. “We are with you as we were during the era of the martyr of Jerusalem, the leader Qassem Soleimani. We are with you with our souls and bodies, and with all that God Almighty has given us of strength and capabilities.”

“We have no doubt that we will enter the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray there with pride and power,” added Qaani. “We will not fail to support you, no matter how many challenges and risks intensify, until this usurping entity is gone.”
Qaani also sent a letter to al-Quds Brigades commander Akram al-Ajouri, promising continued support
“Your capabilities exceed what the enemy has seen so far, and even what he imagines,” wrote Qaani. “We are with you as we were during the era of the martyr of Jerusalem, the leader Qassem Soleimani. We are with you with our souls and bodies, and with all that God Almighty has given us of strength and capabilities.”

“We have no doubt that we will enter the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque to pray there with pride and power,” added Qaani. “We will not fail to support you, no matter how many challenges and risks intensify, until this usurping entity is gone.”

A number of Hamas officials and activists were arrested by Israeli security forces in the West Bank on Wednesday night, according to Palestinian media. One of the officials reportedly arrested was Nayef Rajoub, a senior Hamas official, who was arrested at his home in Dura.

Over 4,000 rockets have been fired into Israel since Operation Guardian of the Walls began 11 days ago. Some 11 Israeli civilians and one IDF soldier have been killed and over 340 have been injured. According to Palestinian media, over 227 Palestinians have been killed and over 1,500 have been injured in the fighting.

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