Gaza terrorists finally crossed Israel’s red line in the sand with nearly 100 rocket attacks that landed in central and southern Israel on Monday, igniting the wrath of the Jewish State.
The government gave a green light to launch Operation Protective Edge in response, mordering the IDF to silence the rocket fire that has been raining down on civilian families for months.
Overnight Monday and into the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the Israel Defense Forces struck 50 terrorist targets throughout Gaza. Local sources reported 17 people were injured in the attacks but as usual did not indicate how many were terrorists.
Among the targets were dozens of homes belonging to key Hamas members — particularly disturbing to the Hamas leadership — including the home of a senior Hamas military official.
Also destroyed were three Hamas control and command bases, 18 underground rocket launchers, and targets described as “infrastructure.” Several other targets involved additional terrorist groups as well.
The initial phase of the operation was carried out through a combined effort of air and naval forces, with 47 targets eliminated by IAF fighter pilots, and three others hit by Israel Navy ships firing from the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Gaza.
But the IDF Spokesperson told Army Radio Tuesday morning that if necessary, the government is ready to consider an expanded response and allow a ground operation as well.
“All options are on the table,” he said. “Everything depends on what happens next.”
A senior military source noted that at present operation would focus primarily on targeted assassinations, rather than on general attacks, as has been the policy in the past.
“We are entering into a long operation,” the source said. “We are only at the start. Patience is required. We are preparing further steps and a gradual expansion of our order of battle.”
The IDF is now in the process of preparing to add to the two infantry battalions currently waiting on the Gaza border, the source added. Those units are “busy with efforts against [cross-border] attack tunnels.”
Iron Dome anti-missile batteries have been deployed throughout the country in what appears to be preparation for any military scenario, including the possibility that a second front might open on the pretense of “solidarity” in the north – as happened during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
“Hamas is under pressure, which caused it to begin shooting,” the source explained. “Its status was deteriorating in Gaza and in the middle of Ramadan, at this point the organization has no good news to offer.”
About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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