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July 17, 2014 10:59 am
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Feared Terror Infiltration Prompts Israeli Police Lockdown Near Gaza

avatar by Dave Bender

Israel police closing roads east of the Gaza Strip, Thursday afternoon. Photo: Israel Police

Israel police closing roads east of the Gaza Strip, Thursday afternoon. Photo: Israel Police

IDF, police and other security forces on Thursday afternoon deployed major forces in the wake of what officials obliquely referred to as “security issues” near several civilian communities east of Gaza.

Authorities feared that a Palestinian terror cell from Gaza was loose within Israeli territory, Israel Radio said.

“Roads (are) closed in the are due to security issues,” Israel Police Spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told The Algemeiner, referring to an immense open desert area between the coastal enclave, and Beersheba, some 40 kilometers to the east.

“Security in the vicinity is at an all-time high,” an army radio reporter on the scene said, describing a major lockdown for residents.

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Terrorists fired a major rocket barrage of at least 20 rockets and mortar shells at about a dozen Israeli towns and villages as the afternoon event developed.

Roads in the vicinity of Ofakim and major highways in the Beersheba area are closed, according to police.

While many details of the event remain under a media gag order, police shortly before 18:00 IST allowed thousands of area residents to leave shelters and safe rooms, and called off the manhunt.

In what may be a related event overnight, the IDF identified approximately 13 gunmen attempting to enter Israel from Gaza through a terror tunnel constructed by Hamas. The underground pathway ran from the southern Gaza Strip and emerged just two kilometers from the Israeli community of Sufa.

“‹In a combined security services effort the IDF said its forces operated in order to halt the impending 04:00 attack, striking the group of would-be assailants from the air.

No injuries were reported to IDF forces.

Meanwhile, Palestinians fired over 50 rockets into central and southern Israel throughout the afternoon and evening, before, during, and after the conclusion of a six-hour unilateral humanitarian truce honored by the IDF.

“At least 57 rockets were launched at Israel since 1500 PM,” the IDF said in a statement.

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