Latest update: November 18th, 2012
1:02 AM (Sunday) IDF Radio reports that for the past hour, the IDF has been pounding away at terror targets in Gaza. The past few hours have been quieter than usual…and only a few rockets fired at Israel.
12:52 AM This evening, IDF Homefront command installed additional sirens in Herziliya due to the escalation down south.
12:39 AM Shooting attack at IDF forces from Syria in the Golan Heights near Tel-Chazeka. No injuries to IDF forces, which returned fire.
9:15 PM 4 rockets shot down over Netivot and Ofakim.
Arabs threw firebombs at Jewish owned cars in Hevron. 1 car was hit and damaged. The driver is OK.
9:07 PM Sirens now going off in Netivot and Ofakim.
8:30 PM Reports of a targeted strike on a car carrying terrorists in the Gaza strip. More news as it comes out. Earlier the IAF took out Hamas commander Muhamed Galab.
8:22 PM Israeli government in the process of giving out special beepers to hearing impaired to inform them of incoming rocket fire.
8:21 PM Sirens now going off again in the Ashkelon Beach region following rockets landing there about 15 minutes ago.
7:37 PM: A Rocket fell in an open area in the Regional Council Ashkelon Coast.
7:30 PM: Since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, 492 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel. In addition, the Iron Dome Active Missile Defense System has intercepted 245 rockets, preventing them from striking populated areas.
7:10 PM: GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Tal Russo addressed the media regarding Operation Pillar of Defense. “In recent days, we have continued with our orderly plans against terror in the Gaza Strip,” he said. “I praise Israel’s civilians on the courage that they have shown and its soldiers on their determination. This is a joint operation of the branches and security forces. We have not yet finished the operation, but we have hit most of the arsenal of weapons that are directed against our citizens.”
“We have begun the operation because it was impossible to maintain normalcy in southern Israel,” he continued. “We will continue this operation until we reach the goals that we have set for ourselves – normalcy for the residents of the south and damage to the arsenal of weapons of the terror organizations. We are operated precisely against the terror organizations, as Hamas continues to operate against our civilians. Most of the weaponry of the terror organizations is stored in residential houses, from which they launch the missiles and the rockets against Israel.”
6:30 PM: Over the course of the day, IAF aircraft continued to target dozens of terror sites throughout the Gaza Strip, including terror tunnels, rocket launching sites and several squads that were involved in launching rockets at Israel.
A short while ago in a joint IDF-ISA activity, a senior Hamas operative in charge of the terror organization’s smuggling operations, and who was actively involved in its armament build-up was targeted in the southern Gaza Strip. Additionally, this morning, the senior member of Hamas’ Air Defense Unit, Mohammed Kaleb, was targeted in the southern Gaza Strip. In addition, a major Hamas base in the southern Gaza Strip was targeted.
The sites that were targeted have been positively identified by precise intelligence over the course of several months.
Since the beginning of the operation, more than 400 rockets have hit Israeli territory. Today, 5 civilians and 4 IDF soldiers were injured by rocket fire.
The Iron Dome Active Missile Defense System has intercepted a long-range rocket above the greater Tel Aviv area, adding to more than 240 interceptions since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense.
5:20 PM: The IDF recently released a video of a strike carried out on a top Hamas commander’s house this morning. When IAF aircraft targeted the house of Ahmed Randor – chief of Hamas’ northern command – a number of secondary explosions ensued, indicating that explosives were stored in the building. Click here to watch the video.
4:40 p.m.: Moments ago, rocket alarms sounded in Tel Aviv, details forthcoming.
3:30 p.m.: Commander of the Combat Engineering Corps has spoken about his unit’s preparations for a possible ground operation. In addition to the infantry forces gathering near Gaza, the Combat Engineering Corps expects to play a significant role in any potential ground operations, calling up a large number of reservists with years of experience.
In Operation Cast Lead, the Combat Engineering Corps often lead the way, searching for stockpiles of ammunition and underground explosives planted by Hamas. “In the case of a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, we will enter in full force. There are many plans and preparations for specific things, such as underground tunnels,” said Brig. Gen. Yossi Morali, the Commander of the Combat Engineering corps.
3:10 p.m.: Rockets launched from Gaza have continued to strike Israel throughout the day. As of this afternoon, 410 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip have struck Israel since November 14th, with 30 striking heavily populated areas. In addition, the Iron system has intercepted 230 rockets since the beginning of the conflict.
1:30 p.m.: Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz held a situation assessment at the Kirya, the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. After meeting with senior officers, the Chief of Staff instructed IDF forces to attack any military force operating in the Gaza Strip, and ordered an increased in the rate of attacks on terrorist targets.
11:00 a.m.: As a part of the effort to warn Gaza’s citizens and minimize civilian casualties, the IDF has dropped more than 200,000 leaflets over the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the operation. These leaflets warn the residents of the Gaza Strip to stay away from Hamas and other terror organizations’ operatives and facilities that pose a risk to their safety.
The leaflets stress that Hamas is dragging the region toward violence, and that the IDF is prepared to defend the residents of the State of Israel until quiet is restored to the region.
10:30 a.m.: A short a while ago, three IDF soldiers were lightly wounded in a rocket attack in southern Israel. Details forthcoming.
9:10 a.m.:The IDF’s Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poly) Mordechai has released a statment further detailing last night’s strikes. Here is the statement in full:
“Since last night, the IDF has struck over 200 targets, including over 120 underground rocket launchers and more than 20 smuggling tunnels in Rafah. In addition, the IDF struck buildings belonging to the Hamas government. Ismail Haniyeh’s headquarters, which serve as the headquarters for the Hamas government, was destroyed in a strike. Additionally, the Hamas’ police headquarters and the homeland security headquarters in Gaza City were also targeted. Lastly, the house of Ahmed Randor, commander of Hamas’ northern command, was targeted as well.
Even now we are launching a wave of continuous strikes in attempt to curb the massive amount of rockets launched. We can see that relative to previous days, this morning’s rocket fire is already reduced. We are continuing to mass forces for a possible ground operation.”
8:55 a.m.: Overnight, the IDF targeted Hamas government buildings as well as several rocket launching squads that were involved in firing rockets toward Israel. As part of the IDF targeting of government buildings, Ismail Haniya’s headquarters, the Hamas Ministry of Interior, and the Hamas police compound, were targeted. An additional Hamas training facility was targeted in the northern Gaza Strip.
In addition, the IDF has continued targeting dozens of terror sites including tunnels, weapons storage facilities and medium-range rocket launching sites across the Gaza Strip, severely damaging rocket launching capabilities.
Hamas, the organization that controls the Gaza Strip, has turned it into a forward base for Iran, carrying out terror attacks and firing rockets at Israeli citizens forcing them to live in unbearable circumstances.
The IDF is determined to continue targeting sites that are used to carry out terror attacks against Israeli citizens.
5:50 a.m.: Since midnight, the IDF has struck 85 targets in the Gaza Strip. According to IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, who addressed the Israeli press last evening, most of the targets struck in the Gaza Strip are rocket launch sites.
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