JERUSALEM, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Two Israeli soldiers were killed in a fire exchange with Palestinian militants who infiltrated Israeli turf through a Gaza tunnel earlier on Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed in a statement.
The two were identified as 45-year-old reserve soldier Maj. Amotz Grinberg from Hod Hasharon in central Israel, and 20-year- old soldier Adar Berenaso from the northern city of Nahariya. Both were hit by machine gunfire and anti-tank missiles.
Meanwhile, two other soldiers suffered mediocre wounds and another lightly injured during the same clash. The IDF said that a group of about five militants infiltrated Israeli turf near the central Gaza Strip border on Saturday, planning to attack Israelis.
At least one Palestinian militant was killed, while several others managed to escape back to the strip. The Israeli Air Forces struck down the militant cell shortly after the fire exchange, the IDF added.
It's not the first time the IDF has thwarted infiltration attempts in the past days. Early on Thursday, Israeli soldiers discovered 13 militants who were exiting a tunnel near Kerem Shalom in southern Gaza Strip.
A senior IDF official told the Ha'aretz daily that since Israel began the ground incursion on Thursday night, the military has located 13 terror tunnels, which, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, is the focus of the current military operation.
Meanwhile, on Saturday afternoon, Gaza militants continued their rocket attack against southern, south central and central Israel. More than 60 rockets were fired throughout the day.
The IDF said that they have struck more than 300 targets in the Gaza Strip since the ground operation began, while Palestinian medical sources said that more than 300 Palestinians have been killed and more than 2,000 wounded.