Since the launch of Operation Protective Edge on Monday night, 500 rockets hit Israel, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the Haifa District.
Gaza terrorists have fired more than 650 rockets towards Israeli citizens since the beginning of 2014, the IDF stated in a mid-day update on Wednesday.
“The attacks have sent thousands running into bomb shelters, threatening millions of Israeli lives,” the update continued. “Operation Protective Edge has one goal: to stop Hamas’ incessant rocket attacks against Israel’s civilians. Since the start of the operation, over 500 rockets hit Israel and the IDF has targeted approximately 440 targets, with both Naval and Aerial capabilities.”
In the past 24 hours, Hamas fired rockets at Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other major cities, an IDF spokesperson stated at 10:47 on Wednesday morning, adding that the M302 has the potential to strike most of Israel.
Although residents in the south bear the brunt of the rocket fire from Gaza, missiles have been reaching the center of the country, including several times in the greater Tel Aviv area, Jerusalem and, for the first time, as far north as Hadera, which is in the Haifa district and 62 miles from the Gaza Strip. Bomb shelters have been opened in major cities across the country.
At 12:05 pm Wednesday, the Iron Dome intercepted three rockets over Ashdod, the IDF said, adding that “a total of eight rockets fired from Gaza have been intercepted since this morning.”
IDF Blocks Terrorist Infiltration
Tuesday night the IDF struck 160 Hamas terror sites in Gaza, including 118 concealed rocket launching sites, consisting of long-range rockets launchers; weapon-storage facilities; 10 tunnels – seven terror tunnels and three smuggling tunnels; six Hamas official facilities, and 10 terror command positions.
Several terrorists attempted to infiltrate a military base in southern Israel, the IDF said; they “arrived from the coast and attacked with grenades. Infantry forces were immediately called to the scene and with the assistance of the IAF and Israeli Navy, four terrorists were killed. One soldier was lightly injured.”
Among those killed in an IAF attack was Hafez Hamed, a commander in the armed wing of Islamic Jihad.
“In recent days, Hamas terrorists have fired hundreds of rockets at Israel’s civilians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Tuesday evening. “No other country lives under such a threat, and no country would accept such a threat. Israel will not tolerate the firing of rockets on our cities and towns.
“We have therefore significantly expanded our operations against Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza,” Netanyahu said. “This comes after our repeated efforts to restore calm were met with increased Hamas rocket fire. Israel is not eager for war, but the security of our citizens is our primary consideration.
“Israel targets Hamas terrorists and not innocent civilians. By contrast, Hamas targets Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians. Hamas, therefore, bears full responsibility for any harm that comes to Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike,” the Israeli leader stated.
The IDF also had to contend with violence in the PA-administered areas in Judea and Samaria, where Palestinian Arabs were protesting Israel’s attacks on Gaza.
A full ground invasion of Gaza is on the table. The army has deployed Artillery Corps troops along the Gaza border, and 40,000 reservists were called up for the Central and Southern Commands.
Author: Atara Beck
Senior Writer/Editor, United with Israel