At least five Israeli soldiers were killed and six wounded following a Palestinian attack on a military post in southern Gaza Strip. The attack started Sunday afternoon with a huge blast in a tunnel filled with explosives underneath the post on the Gaza Strip-Egypt border near Rafah.
Palestinians in the area said they heard a loud explosion followed by machine gun fire. Israeli sources said at least one Palestinian attacker was killed in the ensuing gunbattle. Another one escaped. Two Israeli copters were seen above the area.
Hamas and a group known as the Fatah Hawks claimed responsibility. A Palestinian activists calling himself "Abu Majad" said Palestinian fighters attacked the Israeli position after the blast. According to him, the explosion in the 250-meter tunnel was retaliation for "the assassination" of Yasser Arafat, who died on November 11.
A Hamas official said 1.5 tons of explosives were set off in the blast.
Earlier, seven Palestinian schoolchildren were wounded by Israeli tank fire in the Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis on Sunday morning as Israeli settlements across the Strip came under Palestinian mortar and Qassam rocket fire. Palestinian security and hospital officials said Israeli forces fired three tanks shells in the Khan Yunis refugee camp on Sunday, moderately wounding seven schoolchildren. The students, aged 8-12, suffered shrapnel wounds when one of the shells landed in the yard behind the school, Palestinian officials said. Earlier, Palestinian gunners fired a Qassam rocket at a settlement in northern Gaza Strip and a mortar shell landed in another settlement in the same region. A settlement in the "Gush Katif" area of southern Gaza Strip was also hit by a mortar shell on Sunday morning.