The IDF says it is steadily raising the firepower being brought to bear on Hamas.
On the third day of Operation Protective Edge, heavy rocket fire from Gaza continues to pour into southern and central Israel. A volley of rockets, apparently M-75, launched this afternoon, caused air-raid sirens to sound in many cities in central Israel. The Iron Dome system shot down eight rockets that threatened populated areas. Sirens were heard in Tel Aviv, and throughout central Israel, this morning too, and shards of rockets that were detonated in the air fell in Tel Aviv’s Florentin neighborhood. As of this afternoon, 60 rockets had been fired at Israel today, and Iron Dome successfully intercepted fifteen of them, with zero casualties.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson said, “The IDF is determined, and will continue to attack targets systematically until terror and Hamas are damaged significantly, and will work destroy terrorist infrastructures used to harm Israeli citizens.”
Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon concluded a situation meeting with the participation of representatives from the IDF, Israel Security Agency (ISA), the Field Activity Coordinator, the National Emergency Management Authority, and the Home Front Command. In the discussion, Ya’alon expressed satisfaction with the IDF’s accomplishments in the last three days of the conflict in Gaza, and called them “significant”: “We are continuing to systematically attack Hamas and the terror organizations, and we are hitting them and their assets very hard. We will continue to do so until they understand that the escalation is not worthwhile. The IDF is attacking hundreds of Hamas targets from the air, sea, and land, and, thus far, we have hit terrorists, and have destroyed commanders’ homes, weapons, government buildings, rocket launchers, and rockets, among other things. Hamas will continue to suffer hard blows in the coming days as well – with full intensity, as much as is necessary.”
Ya’alon added, “We have many days of fighting before us, and of Hamas attempts to surprise Israel with attacks from the air, sea, and land, which require our forces to be constantly alert.”
Rocket fire from Gaza continued in the afternoon, and, for the first time, a rocket was launched from Gaza toward Mitzpe Ramon. Yesterday, rockets were fired at Dimona and Yeruham, and the Iron Dome defense system successfully intercepted some of them. In parallel to the extensive rocket strikes throughout Israel, the IDF continued to attack targets throughout the Gaza strip. One of the attacks was intended to take out the head of Hamas’ rocket operations in Gaza, Iman Siam. As of this afternoon, Siam’s state was not clear. It should be noted Siam has been in the IDF’s crosshairs in the past, for his involvement in rocket fire on Israel.
Shortly beforehand, the Israel Air Force (IAF) took out three terrorists in Gaza City. In keeping with the action plan over recent days, today, the IAF continued with pinpoint strikes on the homes of senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives and, as of this afternoon, five houses had been attacked.
Since the beginning of this operation, more than 80 homes of senior Hamas officials have been bombed in the Gaza Strip. A senior IDF source said this morning, “In Gaza, there is a great deal of destruction. These homes are command and control centers in every respect.”
In parallel to the air strikes in Gaza, the IDF continued to prepare the adjacent areas for a possible ground operation in Gaza, in an attempt to stop the rocket fire into Israel. According to an IDF source, the decision to engage in such activity will be influenced by the rate of fire, and the timing of and means of entry will be determined in the next two days: “This operation has a plan, and it is about increasing the rate of fire steadily and systematically. We will turn up the heat. There are many targets to attack, and many targets that have to do with weaponry, ” said the source.
Protective Edge, Day 3:
60 areas targeted today
320 rockets launched into Israel
80 Iron Dome deployments
800 attacks on targets in Gaza
220 underground launchers in Gaza destroyed
80 senior Hamas operatives’ homes bombed
100 Gaza tunnels attacked
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com