Palestinian group Hamas on Friday hailed its military wing for countering an Israeli military incursion into the Gaza Strip.
"We hail the heroic operation carried out by the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, in which a number of occupation forces were killed and injured in southern Gaza," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Anadolu Agency.
"Gaza Strip will be hell for the Israeli occupation," he warned.
Four elite Qassam members were killed by Israeli airstrikes and shelling in the Gaza Strip since Thursday.
The strike came shortly after another Qassam member was killed in an Israeli artillery shelling in eastern Gaza.
Meanwhile, five Israeli soldiers were injured in an explosion during an operation to destroy an underground tunnel with the Gaza Strip.
An explosive device exploded late Thursday as engineering Corps soldiers were destroying an underground tunnel that was discovered a month ago, according to Israeli media.
One soldier was seriously injured in the blast.
Early reports said that the soldiers were hit by mortar fire.
The Israeli army has not commented on the report.
Israeli forces have discovered a 1.5-kilometer long underground tunnel that stretched from Gaza to the fields of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha.
Israeli forces had staged a limited incursion into southern Gaza on Thursday.
Witnesses said that five bulldozers, backed by three tanks, penetrated some 300 meters into eastern al-Qarara village in north-eastern Khan Younis.
In recent days, Israel has staged almost daily incursions into the Gaza Strip, with Israeli troops firing haphazardly at Palestinian farmers and homes near the border.
Last November, Israel signed an Egypt-brokered ceasefire with Gaza-based Palestinian groups following eight days of unrelenting Israeli raids on the strip that left 190 Palestinians dead and more than 1,500 injured.
AALast Mod: 01 Kasım 2013, 14:50