150 rockets from Gaza hit Israel; IDF officer says sides on verge of major military clash

About 150 rockets have been shot from Hamas-controlled Gaza. An IDF officer says Israel may be on the verge of a major miltary confrontation. 

By: World Israel News Staff

As of early Thursday morning, Hamas has fired about 150 rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip, the IDF stated.

The IDF retaliated by targeting a number of sites used by the Hamas and other terror organizations operating in Gaza. Since Wednesday evening, the Iron Dome has intercepted 25 rockets.

The Eshkol Regional Council said early Thursday morning that a 30-year-old woman was seriously injured when a rocket hit a greenhouse where she was working. Prof. Yochanan Pfizer, deputy director of Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, told Army Radio that her life is in danger. Another person was moderately injured.

A senior IDF officer told Ha’aretz that Israel is on the verge of a major military operation in Gaza.

“The end of another night of escalation is not in sight,” the unnamed officer said. “Hamas chose to step away from the [ceasefire] arrangement and now it will pay the price for its violations over the past four months. Hamas is about to be dealt a major blow for its decision.”

The officer did not rule out the possibility that a number of communities in the south would be evacuated up to four kilometers from the border.

The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said that a 23-year-old woman and her one-and-a-half-year-old baby girl were killed by an IDF attack in the center of Gaza Strip, according to Ha’aretz. The father was seriously injured. In all, the health ministry said that three Palestinians have been killed as of early Thursday morning.

IDF strikes back

Early Thursday morning, IDF fighter jets targeted over 100 of Hamas’ strategic military sites. The strikes took place in 10 Hamas military compounds throughout the Gaza Strip, including manufacturing facilities, training complexes and advanced-weapons and capability sites.

Among the targets were:

– Hamas headquarters in Jabalia, including dozens of military sites;

– a military compound used by the commander of northern Gaza City, which included a maritime tunnel;

– a Hamas outpost used by the Jabalia Battalion for urban warfare and underwater training;

– a military compound of the Zaytun battalion used to store weapons and for terror tunnel digging;

– a military compound of the East Jabalia Battalion used for training in urban warfare and the site of a shaft leading to an terror tunnel complex;

– a Hamas base in the northern Gaza Strip used for urban warfare training and rocket launching;

– a compound of the Jabalia Battalion used for training and meetings of senior battalion commanders;

– a military compound used by Hamas to store weapons and explosives. The site used to be home to rocket launching dugouts; and

– a Hamas military compound used by the Deir al-Balah Battalion, which is the site of a current tunnel digging operation.

Hotel becomes terror center

The IDF said that these strikes were conducted in response to the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel over the course of the evening and into the early morning hours.

“Hamas is responsible for the events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it and will bear the consequences for its actions against Israeli civilians and sovereignty,” the IDF said.

“The IDF condemns terror activity and is prepared for a wide variety of scenarios while continuing to fulfill its mission to defend Israeli civilians.”

According to the IDF, a factory used to manufacture parts for terror tunnels was intended to be used as a hotel but was overtaken by the Hamas terror organization in 2012. The factory manufactures parts for terror tunnels under the guise of civilian infrastructure.

The IDF spokesman said that “in 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense, senior Hamas members used the building as shelter, believing the IDF would not target a civilian hotel construction site. In this building, Hamas terrorists continued to plan fighting and command rocket launching units.

“Months later, in 2013, Hamas took over the site entirely, blocked the entrance and began establishing a concrete factory under the guise of a civilian construction site. The factory manufactured concrete parts designed exclusively for terror tunnels, including reinforcements, flooring, and concrete arches, which have no civilian use.

“Hamas operated engineering vehicles in the site, and loaded the parts clandestinely onto trucks covered with tarp, to be delivered to digging sites across the Gaza Strip. The factory stopped producing concrete during Operation Protective Edge (2014), but continued serving Hamas’ war efforts – rocket launchers were placed in its vicinity and Hamas operatives resided in the site during the fighting.

“The launch sites were dug adjacent to the structure, again believing it would not be an IDF target due to its civilian appearance. During the operation, four rockets were launched at Israel. Immediately after this, the factory resumed its regular activity and has continued to be a source of concrete parts for Hamas’ terror tunnels. The open areas around the factory were also considered a “closed military zone” and Hamas used them to practice short and medium range rocket launching and briefly operated a tunnel digging workshop there.

“The IDF strike was conducted in response to the shots fired at civilian engineering vehicles earlier today, and the multiple rockets launched from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory this evening.  The Hamas terror organization continues to target IDF troops, security infrastructure, and Israeli civilians.”