“We will not stop until we make a substantial impact on the Hamas terror group’s infrastructure. This will take days and not hours,” said an IDF spokesman.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
Terrorists in Gaza fired over 200 rockets at Israel overnight with at least two rockets evading the missile defense system and exploding in two residential buildings early Tuesday in the coastal city of Ashkelon, injuring seven Israelis.
Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted most of the rockets that would have struck populated areas, but two rockets slammed into buildings in Ashkelon.
A spokesman for the Magen David Adom national rescue organization said the injured included two men aged around 60 and 40 in moderate condition. The lightly wounded were an 89-year-old couple a 40-year-old woman and two children, 8 and 11.
In response to the rocket fire from Gaza that targeted Israeli civilian areas, the IDF said it attacked about 130 terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, including the home of a battalion commander in the Hamas terrorist organization and the organization’s military intelligence structure.
“We hit 15 terrorists, attack tunnels near the border fence, the home of a senior Hamas commander and the Hamas intelligence command in the southern part of the Strip,” said IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman. “We also hit rocket production sites, weapons depots, military posts and an Islamic Jihad training facility.”
Artillery batteries were being deployed along the border with the Gaza Strip.
In advance of a possible escalation, the IDF warned that Hamas was using the civilian population in Gaza as human shields for its attacks on Israel.
“The terrorist organization Hamas deliberately places its military assets in the heart of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip. The IDF takes precautions to minimize possible harm to civilians during its military activities,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Office said in a statement. “The terrorist organization Hamas is responsible for what is happening in and out of the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences of action against the state and citizens of Israel.”
On Monday Hamas fired at least seven rockets at Jerusalem, triggering air-raid sirens in the capital and in towns and cities on the flight path of the rockets. It is not clear how many of the rockets were intercepted, but several rockets exploded in small communities several kilometers west of the capital causing fires and property damage, but no injuries.
Following that attack, Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza opened fire on the towns and cities bordering Gaza, where residents generally have only 15 seconds to seek shelter after the air defense system detects a rocket launch. In a further escalation, terrorists in Gaza fired an anti-tank missile that destroyed a car on the Israeli side of the border, but the driver who was outside the vehicle nearby escaped certain death and sustained only minor injuries.
In response to the threat against the civilian population, the education system in the area within a 40 kilometer (24 mile) radius of Gaza was ordered closed Tuesday with large events like weddings and sports games cancelled.
Zilberman warned that the escalation is expected to continue for at least several days.
“We will increase the level of attacks in the coming hours,” he added. “We will not stop until we make a substantial impact on the Hamas terror group’s infrastructure. This will take days and not hours,” Zilberman said.