IDF tanks and soldiers at Gaza border. (Photo: Gili Yaari/Flash90 ) IDF tanks and soldiers at Gaza border. (Photo: Gili Yaari/Flash90 )
idf tanks

Indications of a possible IDF incursion into Gaza are increasing. As of Thursday morning, Israel has deployed a third infantry brigade and is continuing to call up more reserves.

Operation Protective Edge

IDF Armed Personnel Carriers and tanks drive towards a gathering point near the border with Gaza on Thursday morning. (Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Overnight Wednesday into Thursday, Hamas fired eight rockets at Israel and the IDF hit 54 terror targets in the Gaza Strip. In the previous 24 hours, more than 105 rockets were launched from Gaza towards Israel.

In response to the continuous rocket fire, the IDF struck 326 targets across the Gaza Strip, including concealed rocket launchers, terror tunnels, training bases, military compounds, weapons storage and manufacturing facilities, and additional sites utilized as control centers by senior Hamas terrorists.

For the second night in a row, Hamas tried to infiltrate Kibbutz Zikim via the sea. The terrorists were again spotted by the IDF. Both terrorists were killed. No IDF soldiers were injured in the attack.

Accurate Hits at Terrorists Registered

The IDF is currently focusing its efforts on destroying the terror infrastructure in Gaza from the air and targeting terrorist leaders and commanders. The IAF on Wednesday targeted the homes of several Hamas commanders who were using their homes as terror command centers. Early Thursday morning, the IDF targeted three Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists who were involved in the manufacturing of medium-range rockets. Accurate hits were registered.

Plumes of smoke in Sderot following a rocket strike in the area. (Photo: IDF)

Plumes of smoke in Sderot following a rocket strike in the area. (Photo: IDF)

Hamas has resorted again to using human shields to protect their infrastructure. The population seems to be willingly cooperating, creating a situation that boosts the number of civilian casualties in Gaza. The IDF has been doing its utmost to minimize civilian casualties and therefore chose to abort certain missions.

Indications of a possible IDF incursion into Gaza are increasing. Israel is deploying a third infantry brigade alongside two others already on the border and is continuing to call up more reserves, army spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said in a briefing.

Four Sirens during Tel Aviv Rush Hour

The greater Tel Aviv area experienced at least four rockets during rush hour early Thursday morning. Commuters rushed for coverage as warning sirens were heard. Shrapnel falling in the city’s southern end damaged a gas station and a number of vehicles. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and a Fatah-linked group claimed responsibility.

Rockets have reached as far north as Hedera in the Haifa district.

Since the start of Operation Protective Edge, over 360 rockets have been fired towards Israel and the IDF has hit approximately 780 targets, with both naval and aerial capabilities.

Operation Protective Edge

Civilians in Tel Aviv lay on the ground during missile attack from Gaza. (Photo: IDF)

On Thursday afternoon, President Shimon Peres declared:

“Israel underwent another night in which millions of our citizens were under the threat of rocket fire. It is a few nights now that mothers, with children in their arms, can’t sleep because of the fear of another siren. We will protect our children and will not allow anyone to harm them. We must say clearly that the State of Israel won’t rely on luck; we are prepared and ready for any scenario in order to protect our civilians. We are a united front in the face of this danger; we will not consent to being victims.”

“We do not wish to see innocent people killed or injured, but it is Hamas who endangers the citizens of Gaza by firing from deep within civilian areas,” Peres said, in reference to the terrorists’ use of human shields.

Written by UWI Staff with files from Aryeh Sapir, Tazpit News Agency