Gaza, ALRAY - Search operations to dig out the bodies of the three martyrs of al-Qassam Brigadeshave been set off Saturday morning near the tunnel discovered lately east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
Safa News Agency reported that "crews from ICRC, Red Crescent, Civil Defense Service and from Public Works Ministry were allowed access to the area about 250 meters from the border fence east of Khan Younis,"
"Israel permitted 30 workers and diggers with 4 ambulances to the place thanks to the Red Cross coordinating with the Israeli occupation to recover the bodies of the martyrs of Hamas's military wing," Safa quoted an official without being identified.
The excavations have been conducted in the area between Kosofem and Sreej.
The Israeli army refused to comment on Israeli reports that Egypt brokered the permission to conduct the search for the bodies near the border fence.
An Israeli airstrike killed three Palestinians in the Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis while stationed on border areas where a tunnel between into Israel was revealed two weeks ago.
Hamas military wing, Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, announced following the incident that their members Khalid abu-Bakra, 35; Mohamed Daud, 26 and Mohamed al-Qasas, 23 were killed while protecting the borders at night.
In a statement, they said that they were killed in a battle with the Israeli occupation forces. "Israeli tanks, escorted by military helicopters, tried to invade Khan Younis, but our fighters stopped them."
"Israeli tanks fired artillery shells, one of them hit the three fighters, and our fighters exploded a landmine in the area," the statement added.
Israeli occupation forces reported that five soldiers were wounded upon the explosion.
Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahrnoth said, "Israeli forces operating on both sides of the Gaza border fence were hit after a bomb went off on Thursday night. One soldier was seriously injured, another moderately injured and three sustained light wounds."