Gaza-based terrorists from the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations launched over 200 rockets at civilian targets throughout southern Israel all through Monday night, sending tens of thousands of civilians running for shelter.
The majority of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense systems or exploded in open space.
Some of the rockets exploded in Sderot and in Ashkelon and some buildings incurred a direct hit. Six people were evacuated to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon with injuries caused by the rockets, including two in moderate condition and four in light condition, and in addition, two who suffered from anxiety. Several other Israelis were evacuated for treatment after falling while running for shelter.
Responding to the attacks, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out some 130 attacks against terror targets in Gaza, killing at least 15 terrorists involved in launching rockets, and hitting military posts, ammunition production sites, terror tunnels, and the home of a senior Hamas commander.
The IDF announced that its current operation is called Operation Guardian of the Walls, possibly because it was launched on Jerusalem Day.
An IDF spokesman stated during a briefing on Tuesday morning that 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.”
“In the coming hours, we will rise to the level of attacks. We will not stop until we achieve widespread damage to Hamas. It is a matter of days and not of hours,” he underscored.
Gazan sources claimed that three children were killed in the Israeli strikes, but the IDF stated that they were killed by a Hamas rocket that misfired and that in general, a third of the rockets Hamas fires at Israel exploded inside the Gaza Strip.
Schools throughout southern Israel remained closed Tuesday and several cities that have yet to be attacked decided to keep the schools closed and opened shelters in the city in expectation of an expansion of Hamas’ radius of fire.
Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Aruri said Monday night that “the resistance is responsible for protecting the Palestinian people, including those in Jerusalem. If Israel wants to go to a full-scale war, the resistance [Hamas] is ready to protect the Palestinian people. The resistance means not only missiles, the resistance is also the defense of residents of Sheikh Jarrah and the defense of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Speaking at the Jerusalem Day ceremony at Ammunition Hill on Monday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel is “in a fight on several fronts: Jerusalem, Gaza and elsewhere in the country. This evening, on Jerusalem Day, the terrorist organizations in Gaza have crossed a red line and attacked us with missiles in the outskirts of Jerusalem.”
The attacks commenced with a barrage of seven rockets on the Jerusalem area.
“Israel will respond with great force. We will not tolerate attacks on our territory, on our capital, on our citizens and on our soldiers. Whoever attacks us will pay a heavy price,” Netanyahu declared. “We do not seek escalation but whoever chooses to escalate will feel the weight of our arm.”