A squad of Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel inside Israel Monday evening and killed five soldiers, but failed to carry out an abduction.
The attack took place south of Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the vicinity of the Karmi Crossing with the Gaza Strip.
The five soldiers were named by the army as Sgt. Daniel Kedmi, 18, from Tsofim; Sgt. Barkey Ishai Shor, 21, from Jerusalem; Sgt. Sagi Erez, 19, from Kiryat Ata; Sgt. Dor Dery, 18, from Jerusalem; and Sgt. Nadav Raimond, 19, from Shadmot Dvora.
The Hamas squad surfaced 150 meters inside Israel and fired an anti-tank missile at an army position. The barracks, just below the lookout tower, was hit, and four soldiers were mortally wounded. The soldiers in the lookout tower spotted the squad advancing on the position and trying to drag away one of the soldiers who had been hit. They then opened fire, killing at least one of the gunmen. The others fled.
They army said it was looking for the gunmen both on the other end of the tunnel and on Israeli soil, conducting searches to make sure that none of them remains in Israel. An army spokesperson also said that the tunnel likely originated in the Gaza neighborhood of Shejaiya. The army is still investigating the incident.
Later, military sources said the IDF was aware of the tunnel, had partly demolished it, and believed it had been secured.
The five soldiers killed in the Hamas raid raised the Israeli death toll to 10 on Monday alone, and 53 since the start of Operation Protective Edge.
Earlier in the day, four Israeli soldiers were killed in a mortar attack from Gaza on Monday afternoon, the IDF said.
Hamas took responsibility for the shellfire on a position in the Eshkol region, which injured another 10 people, some seriously.
Iron Dome and rocket alarms do not function when short-range mortar shells are fired.
The head of the Eshkol Regional Council, Haim Yellin, called on Israeli civilians to stop visiting soldiers in the area, citing the dangers involved.
Roads into the area were also closed to traffic.
The IDF also confirmed that a fifth soldier, Staff-Sgt. Moshe Davino, 20, from Jerusalem, was killed in a gunfight in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday. According to IDF, Davino was killed by anti-tank fire in Khan Younis.
JTA contributed to this report.