Hamas published a video early Tuesday showing a civilian bus carrying Israeli troops being hit by an anti-tank missile and erupting into flames, reportedly moments after dozens of soldiers had disembarked the vehicle.
The afternoon attack on the bus traveling near the Gaza border set off a massive flareup of violence that has seen more than 300 rockets fired at Israel and massive retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza by Israel, bringing the sides back to the brink of war.
The attack, however, could have had a much higher injury or death toll, likely setting off even heavier fighting. According to reports, the bus had minutes earlier been filled with soldiers, but was empty at the time it was hit.
The soldier who was injured was apparently standing outside the bus when the Kornet anti-tank guided missile was fired from the Gaza Strip.
The bus, which had no markings identifying it as military, had just pulled out of the Black Arrow memorial near Kibbutz Kfar Azza, several kilometers from the Gaza border, when it was hit.
The 19-year-old Israeli soldier was taken to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center in unstable condition, with injuries throughout his body, medics said.
The driver of the bus, 25, was taken to the hospital after he suffered a panic attack, medics said.
In the video published by Hamas, several soldiers are seen walking around as the bus is parked near the memorial site.
The terror group appeared to stalk the bus for several minutes before firing the missile.
Once it pulls out of the forested area and is fully exposed to the Strip, the missile is fired, hitting the bus and setting it on fire.
A doctor at the Soroka medical center in Beersheba said the injured soldier had arrived in life-threatening condition, but had undergone surgery was expected to be moved to the Intensive Care Unit.
The attack on the bus came less than a day after an IDF special operations officer was killed in an operation gone awry that also killed seven Palestinian gunmen in the Strip. Following Sunday night’s incident, the Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas said “the blood of our righteous martyrs will not be wasted.”