Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Damage caused to vehicles in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a residential area in the city on August 6, 2022.

Amid internal calls to end Israel’s Operation Breaking Dawn, its military operation to end threats from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group, the terrorists who started the conflict with concrete threats continued to fire rockets at the Jewish State.

Operation Breaking Dawn by the Numbers
By late Sunday afternoon, Gaza’s PIJ terrorists had fired at least 780 rockets and mortar shells at Israel, the IDF reported. About 180 of those rockets were misfired and landed in Gaza itself, maiming and killing the terrorists’ own neighbors. Some landed in the Mediterranean Sea.

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The Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted and shot down some 270 rockets that were projected to land in populated areas, with a near-97 percent success rate, the IDF said.

IDF fighter pilots struck more than 140 PIJ terror targets in the enclave, killing about 30 people, including the group’s entire security echelon and terrorist operatives, and about five or six non-combatants.

PIJ Terror Leaders Killed in Gaza, Arrested in Samaria
Among the top terror commanders who were killed was southern Gaza commander Khaled Mansour, northern Gaza commander Taysir al-Jaba’ri, and Ziad Al-Mudallal, son of senior PIJ leader Ahmad al-Mudallal.

Overnight in Judea and Samaria, the IDF, Shin Bet, and the Israel Police arrested 20 terrorist operatives associated with the PIJ terrorist organization. They were transferred for further investigation by the security forces.

Among those arrested was senior PIJ leader Nasser Amor, taken into custody at his home in the village of Anza, near Jenin.

Senior PIJ official Sheikh Bassam Diab was also arrested, near Jenin, according to Arab sources quoted by Israel’s Channel N12 News.

The IDF said that as of Sunday morning, Operation Breaking Dawn fighter pilots had struck rocket crews, an underground terror tunnel, 10 PIJ military outposts and 10 rocket launching pads, six weapons warehouses and other targets, in addition to the group’s entire senior echelon.

Internal Calls to End the Operation
Shin Bet director Ronen Bar called for an end to Operation Breaking Dawn, which he described as a “successful” military operation against Gaza’s Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization.

Speaking to a meeting of the Security Cabinet on Saturday night, Bar contended that PIJ has been “hit hard” and urged the government to wrap up the operation before mistakes are made that could lead to a wider conflict.

The Shin Bet director reportedly informed the cabinet that the operation has already met one of its most important strategic goals: separating PIJ from its ally, Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.

Thus far, Hamas has declined to join the conflict. However, late Sunday afternoon the group’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, announced that one of their members, Ahmad Muhammad Afana of Jabaliya, was killed in an airstrike. It is not yet clear how the group will respond.

Lapid: Operation to Continue For Now
On Sunday morning, Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement the operation will continue for now.

“The IDF, the Shin Bet, and the security forces will continue to act against Palestinian Islamic Jihad until we restore peace and remove the threat to children [in the Gaza Envelope area],” Gantz said in a statement.

“The operation will continue as long as necessary,” Lapid added, saying the IDF will continue striking targets in Gaza “in a pinpoint and responsible way in order to reduce to a minimum the harm to noncombatants.”

Ceasefire May Go Into Effect at 8 pm
A ceasefire was set to be announced at 5 pm, according to the latest update from Arab media, which reported the deal would go into effect at 8 pm Sunday.

However, by 5:30 pm local time, no ceasefire deal had yet been announced.

During the period leading up to any ceasefire, it is expected the terrorist faction will fire heavy rocket barrages at Israeli cities to take advantage of the final hours.

IDF Efforts to Avoid Civilian Casualties
One example of that careful effort to avoid harm to noncombatants is seen in the below video of one Gazan who caused Israeli combat pilots to abort an entire air strike, simply due to the Gazan’s presence on the road near the intended target. Watch.

It is standard policy of the Israeli military to avoid civilian casualties whenever possible and the IDF sometimes goes to extreme lengths to make sure no civilian is hurt – including making phone calls to residents in the combat zones to urge them to leave in advance of an air strike.

Nevertheless, somehow international media is still missing the point, reporting Gaza children killed without explaining they died in an explosion caused by rocket fire from their terrorist neighbors.

Rockets Fired at Gaza Envelope, Western Negev, Shefela
Rockets were fired at Israeli communities in the Gaza Envelope region, at the southern coastal city of Ashkelon, at the Western Negev and at the Shefela region. Most, however, were aimed at Israelis living along the Gaza border.

A massive barrage of rockets was fired at around 3:15 pm Sunday, targeting Israelis in the Gaza Envelope, Western Negev, and the Shefela region further north. Among the cities targeted were Netivot, the port city of Ashdod, and Hatzerim.

Two rockets were fired at the Jerusalem area on Sunday morning, both intercepted by IDF soldiers operating the Iron Dome aerial defense system.

Several homes in southern Israel sustained direct hits, but the occupants were unharmed thanks to having a built-in bomb shelter in their homes.

A rocket landed near a home in the Eshkol Regional Council district, causing damage, while several electrical lines were hit by another projectile, causing power outages in some of the towns.

Interception shrapnel from the Iron Dome aerial defense system shooting down rockets heading for populated areas also damaged several homes.

There were also unconfirmed reports that at least one rocket or more landed in the Negev capital of Be’er Sheva, possibly with injured Israelis.

A group of vehicles was also badly damaged by rocket fire aimed at Asheklon.

Israelis Injured While Racing for Safety
United Hatzalah volunteers said Sunday afternoon they had treated approximately a dozen people who have sustained minor injuries.

President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer explained, “So far, more than a dozen people have sustained injuries while running to safety in public bomb shelters or shelters in their homes.

“Our teams provided medical treatment for their injuries and psychological first aid to those suffering from shock and emotional distress.”

All the injured and traumatized were reported to be in good condition.

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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.