The IDF has begun Operation ‘Protective Edge’ in response to the intense escalation of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel.
Within 24 hours, 100 rockets landed in Israel – mainly in the south, where civilians are confined to bomb shelters. Missiles were also fired into central Israel, where sirens were sounded in a number of cities and residents ran for cover.
In response to the intense escalation of terror, the IDF launched dozens of air raids overnight as part of a major offensive, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge.” The Israeli Air Force hit 50 targets, including the homes of four senior Hamas officials.
At least 40,000 reservists have been called up thus far.
Israeli Prime Minister: ‘Take Off the Gloves!’
At an emergency meeting Tuesday morning in Tel Aviv with the top echelon of the defense establishment, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the time had come to “take off the gloves.”
The Israeli leader, discussing Operation Protective Edge, called for “an unremitting, long and powerful strike in Gaza,” adding that a ground offensive is being considered.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, after discussions with with Home Front Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg, affirmed:
“We are preparing for a confrontation with Hamas. We will exact a heavy price.”
“This battle will not end in just a few days,” Ya’alon warned. “We are prepared to widen the scope of the fighting with every means at our disposal in order to continue to hit Hamas.”
Ya’alon appealed to the population to show patience and to adhere to instructions from the Homefront Command regarding safety measures, including the prohibition of gatherings of more than 500 people, whether in a closed facility or an open area.
IDF: Hamas ‘Exploits Palestinians’
“Hamas, the ruling entity of the Gaza Strip, is responsible for most of the attacks on Israeli population centers,” an IDF spokesperson declared.
“Since the beginning of 2014, Gaza terrorists have fired more than 450 rockets at innocent Israeli civilians,” the spokesperson said. “Rocket fire endangers more than 3.5 million people – about 40 percent of Israel’s population. The threat facing Israel is intolerable, and the IDF is determined to stop it” with Operation Protective Edge.
“Since Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, Hamas has continued to arm itself with vast amounts of weaponry and is currently in possession of 10,000 rockets. Hamas deliberately and systematically exploits Palestinians and uses them as human shields when firing at Israel. Over 3.5 million Israelis are currently living under the threat of rocket attacks. No nation would accept this reality.”
Interior Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, Ynet reports, told the security cabinet meeting:
“The situation in the south has become insufferable. We cannot allow over a million citizens be held hostage in bomb shelters.”
A mere four months ago, the Israel’s navy intercepted the Klos-C, an Iranian shipment of advanced weaponry en route to Gaza to be used for attacks against Israeli civilians, the IDF spokesperson recalled.
Author: Atara Beck
Senior Writer/Editor, United with Israel