Following what it described as a “serious shooting incident” where its soldiers were targeted by snipers at the border with Gaza, the IDF has launched attacks “deep” into the Gaza Strip attacking elements of Hamas’s military infrastructure, The Times of Israel reported Friday.
The renewed Gaza attacks by the IDF are in addition to earlier attacks launched in retaliation for the targeting of IDF troops by Palestinians with mortars and other explosive devices. In the earlier raids four Hamas terrorists were killed as the IDF targeted eight Hamas positions.
“Israeli Air Force fighter jets are currently striking military targets throughout the Gaza Strip. So far, the IDF has struck 15 military targets located in a Hamas battalion headquarter in the northern Gaza Strip. The IDF significantly damaged the headquarters capabilities,” the IDF spokesperson said, adding, “Among the targets were weaponry warehouses, equipment storage, training facilities, observation posts, command and control rooms, the battalion’s operation room, the battalion commander’s office, and additional infrastructure. The strikes are ongoing.”
Following the IDF strikes, rocket alerts were sounded in communities near the Gaza Strip. Two rockets were reportedly intercepted by the Iron Dome and a third fell in an open field.
Sirens sounded in the Sha'ar HaNegev and Sdot Negev Regional Councils. More details to follow pic.twitter.com/95af5tv0Ks
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 20, 2018
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman at the Defense Ministry’s headquarters to get a briefing on the current situation from the top IDF generals.
IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis said that the fire against the IDF at the Gaza border represented “the most serious incident” since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Manelis said that while Israel had no intent to engage Hamas in a “full-scale” war, he also wouldn’t rule out sending in ground troops if the situation necessitated such a response.
Similarly, IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said that since 2014 the IDF has been getting ready “whatever response is necessary.”
“Last week the air force carried out strikes that were described as the largest since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, we will look back at it after our response now and say it was a joke,” Cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi told Hadashot news, referring to Israel’s response to the nearly 200 rockets and mortars Hamas fired into Israel last Saturday, “The gloves are coming off.”
In anticipation of possible escalation, Israelis near the border with Gaza have been instructed to stay close to bomb shelters and not to attend Sabbath services unless they can be held in protected rooms.
[Photo: Wall Street Journal / YouTube]