Gaza terrorists launched a new long-range missile Tuesday night, fulfilling its vow to reach new targets in central regions, ‘farther than Israelis have ever believed could be hit.”
The Syrian-made M302 missile weighs 120 kilograms and has a range of approximately 62 miles (100 kilometers). Hamas proclaimed Wednesday morning to journalists that it currently has “dozens of these missiles” in its arsenals.
This past March, Israeli Navy Shayetet 13 commandos seized the Klos C vessel, sailing under the flag of Panama but owned by Iran. The vessel, which had set out from Iran and was heading for Sudan, was laden with M302 long-range missiles intended for Gaza terrorists, hidden in Iranian-labeled containers filled bags allegedly filled with “Portland cement.”
During each ‘quiet’ period Gaza terrorists manage to exponentially expand their arsenal, which currently also includes the locally-produced 80-kilometer range M75 and Iranian-made Fajr-5 missiles, and medium-range Grad Katyusha missiles, along with the shorter-range Qassam rockets.
Tuesday night was for Muslims the 10th day of Ramadan – the date on the Islamic calendar which is the anniversary of the start of the Yom Kippur War.
Possibly to mark the event, Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists fired repeated barrages of long-range missiles at Israel in an attempt to hit Rishon Lezion, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem.
They failed, however, thanks to the Iron Dome anti-missile system which had been deployed in strategic locations throughout the country days earlier precisely to avert such an attack.
The IDF is meanwhile proceeding with its mobilization of reservists; a call up of 40,000 was approved by Israel’s security cabinet on Tuesday.
“We will not tolerate rocket fire against our cities and townships and therefore I ordered a significant broadening of Israel Defense Force operations against the terrorists of Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strips,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained in a statement to international media.
He added that Israelis needed to pull together and “show resilience because this operation could take time.”
In a departure from previous operations, a primary goal in Operation Protective Edge is the targeted assassination of Hamas leaders, who were warned repeatedly that if the rocket fire did not cease, Israel would put an end to it “permanently.”
Since January, Gaza terrorists have fired more than 450 rockets and missiles at Israeli civilians. Since June 12, at least 240 were launched at Israel by 9 am Wednesday morning.
Hamas had boasted in a video beamed to Israeli civilians that this time terrorist rocket fire would reach into Judea and Samaria and “all over Israel.
Indeed, Tuesday night for the first time missiles exploded over the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ein Kerem, albeit intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. Missile fire also reached for the first time as far north as Binyamina, just south of the town of Zichron Ya’akov.
Security officials are also warning that as the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization did at the start of the 2006 Second Lebanon War, it is likely that Hamas and Islamic Jihad will attempt ground attacks as well.
In fact, on Tuesday two Gaza terrorists attempted an amphibious infiltration at a southern Israeli kibbutz, Zikkim, but were caught and killed by IDF soldiers after a brief but fierce exchange of gunfire.
Hana Levi Julian