Infiltration alarms sound in virtually empty Gaza border towns of Zikim and Karmia, as army spokesman says Navy spotted Hamas cell entering sea from a tunnel and opened fire

File: Israeli Navy ships fire at Hamas terrorists attempting to infiltrate into Israel, early October 7, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

A number of Hamas terrorists attempted to infiltrate into Israel from the Gaza Strip via the sea on Tuesday evening and were killed by Israeli Navy forces, the military said.

The IDF did not specify how many Hamas divers attempted to infiltrate into Israel. Hebrew-language media reports put the number at between five and eight.

During the incident, an alarm signifying a suspected infiltration sounded in the border communities of Zikim and Karmia, which have largely been evacuated since Hamas’s deadly assault on southern Israel on October 7. Only a few essential personnel and local security teams remain in the area, which has been declared a closed military zone.

The IDF said a fighter jet also carried out an airstrike against a compound from which the terrorists set out.

Later, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Navy forces were continuing to search for additional possible terrorists in the area.

Hagari said Navy forces — including naval commandos — operating across from the coast of Gaza City spotted the Hamas cell entering the sea from a tunnel. Navy forces opened fire at the divers, killing them, “and are currently in the process of making sure that there aren’t any more members of the cell in the sea,” he said.

Zikim beach. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

In a statement, Hamas claimed responsibility for the sea-borne attack attempt, and said its members had clashed with Israeli forces after ostensibly managing to infiltrate into Israel.

Later in the evening, an infiltration warning sounded again in Zikim, Karmia and Netiv Ha’asara, although shortly afterward the IDF Home Front Command said that the incident was over and an all-clear was given.

Both during and since Hamas’s October 7 invasion of southern Israel, the Navy foiled a number of infiltration attempts via the sea.

Footage released by the IDF last week showed members of the Navy’s Snapir unit killing Hamas terrorists attempting to infiltrate via the sea on the morning of October 7. The IDF said that the Navy killed dozens of Palestinian terrorists on speedboats and other vessels during the assault that weekend.

Two days later, the Navy also took into custody the deputy commander of the southern division of the Hamas naval force, Muhammad Abu Ghali.

As reported by The Times of Israel