In Long Day of Fighting, Rockets at Coastal Cities, IDF Retaliations

As Operation Protective Edge got underway, The Jerusalem Post reported that early in the day Tuesday the IDF had killed “a commander of Hamas’s naval commando unit, Muhammad Sa’aban.” Later, three other Hamas leaders were targeted:

Later on Tuesday, the air force struck three homes in Gaza used by Hamas as command and control centers for enabling rocket fire against Israel.

The homes belonged to Muhammad Sba’at, a senior member of Hamas’s rocket launching formations in Beit Hanount, who was involved in several recent rocket attacks against Israel, Amin Ibrahim Al-Alba’an, a Hamas member, and Abu Jarad, a Hamas member from northern Gaza who has been engaged in terrorism against Israel.

A number of outlets reported that Israel gave Gaza residents warnings before striking. ITV adds that the strikes in Gaza were precise. The New York Times reports that there were still casualties as some residents defied the warning and entered or remained in the targeted house.

Later in the day the IDF encountered five infiltrators in the proximity of Zikim, just north of Gaza.

Sirens went off in Tel Aviv at night. An Iron Dome seeks out and destroys an incoming missile to the sound of cheers.

A different sort of cheering was going on on the Temple Mount.

Tuesday night, The Jerusalem Post reported that the city of Jerusalem had opened its public bomb shelters.

“In the case of a siren or explosion, residents should go to the closest protected area within 90 seconds and close all doors and windows and stay indoors for 10 minutes,” the statement read.

“All residents are asked to continue to listen to instructions from the Home Front Command. As of now, all municipal events will take place as scheduled.”

Sirens and an explosion were heard in the capital. A house was hit in northern Jerusalem with no injuries reported. Earlier in the evening Tel Aviv opened its public shelters.

At 11:30 PM The Times of Israel reported that a rocket had struck Hadera. Hadera was hit three times in 2006 by Hezbollah and it was considered the furthest that Hezbollah could hit. For Hamas, Hadera is also the farthest point north that its rockets could reach. Shortly afterwards the Times reported that according to Yossi Melman:

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group have some 400 long-range rockets four times larger than Israeli intelligence had estimated, Israeli journalist Yossi Melman says.

He says about 30 to 40 of the rockets were destroyed by the Israel Air Force, while 40 were used against Israel.

In an earlier post today The Tower reported on a conference call The Israel Project held with former national security adviser Yaacov Amidror. (The Israel Project publishes The Tower.) Amidror said that an Israeli offer of a ceasefire was answered with “a huge attack on Israeli citizens. Also quoted in the post was The Israel Project Defense Analyst Stephane Cohen whose prediction that Hamas would “try to fire rockets toward Tel Aviv and beyond,” was borne out this evening.

A post reviewing the events leading up to Operation Protective Edge noted that:

At least 220 projectiles had been launched by Gaza-based Palestinians in under a month, and Hamas had recently begun openly taking credit for the barrages.

The Tower also focused on an analysis by Ron Ben Yishai that highlighted the importance of yesterday’s strike on a Hamas smuggling tunnel and a consensus among Israeli pundits that Israel has acted with restraint in the lead up to Operation Protective Edge.

[Photo: IsraeliPM / YouTube ]