A ball of fire and smoke rises during IDF airstrikes in Khan Younis in the northern Gaza Strip, Jan. 2, 2022. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90) (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
IDF airstrike Gaza

Israelis residing within 40 kilometers of the Gaza border have been instructed to enter or remain near bomb shelters amid fears of rocket attacks.

By Charles Bybelezer, JNS

The Israel Defense Forces killed three top Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders in strikes across the Gaza Strip early on Tuesday morning, following a month of intermittent confrontations with terrorists in the Palestinian enclave.

The IDF identified the targets of the operation as Khalil Bahitini, PIJ’s commander in northern Gaza; Jahed Ahnam, a senior member of the terror group’s military council; and Tarek Azaldin, who directs its activities in Judea and Samaria.

Israel also struck 10 sites belonging to PIJ, including weapons manufacturing facilities and depots.

The military dubbed the campaign “Operation Shield and Arrow.”

Israelis residing within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the Gaza border have been instructed to enter or remain near bomb shelters amid fears of rocket attacks.

Bomb shelters were also opened in the southern cities of Ashkelon and Beersheva, as well as the central cities of Rishon LeZion, Herzliya, Ra’anana, Kfar Saba, Yavneh and Bat Yam.

“The strikes targeted senior figures responsible for rocket fire from Gaza in recent months and who were involved in organizing additional attacks on Israelis, including in Judea and Samaria,” said IDF spokesperson Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari, adding: “Those who endanger Israeli lives, and those who work tirelessly to harm Israel’s security, will not remain unharmed.”

He noted that 40 IAF aircraft had carried out coordinated strikes within seconds of each other across three different locations in Gaza.

“At this stage, we achieved our objective, we hit what was needed. If necessary, we will ramp up the attacks. We are prepared for any scenario,” said Hagari.

Hundreds of reservists would be activated, mostly those serving in the IAF, Southern Command and intelligence units, he added.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant weighed in shortly thereafter, saying: “Any terrorist element that harms Israeli citizens will regret it. We will pursue and catch our enemies.”

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