IDF Staff Sergeant Netanel Moshiashvili was killed early Friday morning in a gunfight with a Palestinian infiltrator near the Israel-Gaza border. The terrorist group Islamic Jihad first confirmed its connection to the incident, but later denied it.
The gunman had penetrated into Israeli territory by cutting through the border fence under cover of fog at approximately 4 A.M.
A Golani unit rushed to the area, near the Kissufim border crossing. An exchange of fire ensued during which the Palestinian was killed and Staff Sergeant Moshiashvili mortally wounded. Army medics were unable to stabilize the soldier’s condition and he died soon afterward.
Islamic Jihad confirmed that it was one of its operatives who had infiltrated Israel. The organization’s military wing, Saraya Al Quds [Jerusalem Brigades], said that its mission was to abduct an IDF soldier.
But hours later an Islamic Jihad spokesman, Abu Ahmed, vehemently denied that his organization was responsible for the infiltration, which he called a “heroic act.”
Moshiashvili, 21, of Ashkelon was buried in his hometown’s military cemetery this afternoon, ahead of Shabbat.
The Palestinian infiltrator was identified as Ahmed Abu Nasser, a 23-year-old resident of Abassan, a town just east of Khan Younis.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit held Hamas responsible for the incident and said in a statement that a terrorist attack on Israel had been thwarted.
“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians or IDF soldiers, and will operate against anyone who uses terror against the State of Israel,” the IDF spokesperson said.
Later Friday morning, Palestinian sources in southern Gaza reported Israel Air Force activity and explosions. The IDF confirmed that the IAF had struck open fields in the Strip.
Two mortar shells were then fired into Israel from Gaza. One mortar landed near the site of the earlier shootout. There were no reports of injuries or damage to property.
Gaza health official Adham Abu Salmia said three people were seriously wounded when an Israeli airstrike targeted their vehicle around noon Israel time. The Air Force confirmed that it had targeted a terror ring that was launching rockets at IDF soldiers.
Authorities had raised the alert level in Southern Israel following the morning’s events in preparation for possible rocket fire from the Strip.