Hundreds Attend Prayer Rally Held for IDF Soldiers at Western Wall
JERUSALEM – A massive prayer rally was held at the Western Wall on Saturday night, as Israelis prayed for the safety of the Israel Defense Forces. Former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and other rabbis led prayers and readings of the Psalms as thousands gathered at Judaism’s holiest site in the nation’s capital to pray for the soldiers’ safety.
Two Israeli soldiers were killed and four wounded on Saturday morning, when a Hamas terror cell infiltrated Israel through a tunnel dug from central Gaza. Amotz Greenberg, 45, from Hod Hasharon and Sgt. Adar Barsano, 20, from Nahariya were shot as they patrolled the Israeli side of the border.
The Hamas gunmen, dressed in IDF uniforms, had originally been heading to a nearby Israeli community to carry out a major attack, said army sources. The IDF patrol vehicle had not been the intended target, but the terror cell opened fire with machine guns and anti-tank weaponry on the vehicle killing the two Israeli officers.
Israeli troops returned fire and killed one terrorist, while the other terrorists fled back to Gaza. Military sources believe that the presence of the Israeli patrol vehicle prevented a much more devastating attack on Israeli civilians.
More IDF soldiers have been deployed to the Israeli side of the Gaza border in order to prevent such attacks in the future according to the military. In addition, two IDF soldiers were lightly injured and one severely injured overnight in a confrontation with Hamas terrorists in northen Gaza.
Also on Saturday, a Bedouin man, 32, was killed by a Gaza rocket that exploded in a Bedouin community near Dimona. His relatives also sustained light to moderate wounds, including two boys and two women and were hospitalized in Beer Sheva’s Soroka hospital.
More than 94 rockets were fired at Israel throughout Saturday with rocket alarms sounding in Ashdod, Gedera, Kiryat Malachi, Dimona, Beer Sheva, and the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council. The Iron Dome intercepted a rocket over the Tel Aviv metropolitan area on Saturday night as well.
In one of the more bizarre attack attempts, a donkey laden with explosives was spotted suspiciously approaching IDF forces in the Rafah area on Friday evening, July 8. The forces approached the donkey and it exploded at a safe distance, with no injuries sustained by the IDF. According to the IDF, Palestinian terror organizations in Gaza have been planning to strap explosives onto animals and send them in the direction of ground forces. This was the first such attempt reported since Operation Protective Edge began 12 days ago.
Approximately 3,000 rockets have been eliminated in Gaza so far, said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, while 13 terror tunnels have been uncovered on the Gaza border.