Military officials saw the group and launched an immediate aerial attack.
A spokesman for Israel’s military could not say with certainty how many of the 13 were killed, but added that several tried to make a run for the tunnel when they discovered they had been exposed, The New York Times reported. Israelis in the neighborhoods closest to the exit mouth of the tunnel were told to remain in their homes.
Hamas took responsibility for the infiltration on its website, bragging that a group of special forces had managed to steal behind “enemy lines newer Sufa,” but fell in heavy fire after the “completion of its mission,” The Times reported.
The tunnel fiasco occurred shortly before Hamas and Israel agreed to a brief cease-fire, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, per the request of the United Nations. The brief lull was aimed at giving civilians in Gaza the chance to receive crucial supplies.