Israel was preparing for several days of fighting after over 160 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into the Jewish state Tuesday following the targeted assassination of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Leader Bahaa Abu Al-Ata in a precision Israeli airstrike.
As money and missiles provided by Iran continue to flow into the hands of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, the attacks coming out of Gaza Strip against Israel continue to increase in both frequency and ferocity. In the early morning hours today, after 6 hours of unending rocket fire from Gaza Strip, the IDF roared into action and began neutralizing targets.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Psalm 122:6 (KJV)
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group launched the attacks in retaliation for the targeted assassination of their leader Baha Abu al-Ata. Abu al-Ata was a major instigator of the trouble coming out of Gaza Strip, and his removal was long overdue. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that Israeli soldiers should prepare for “days of fighting” at a minimum as hostilities continue to increase.
“We are not interested in an escalation but we are ready – on the ground, in the air and at sea.”
FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: In the afternoon, the IDF launched a new wave of attacks against Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip, hitting training bases and the openings to tunnels the terror group had been digging into Israel. The IDF also announced that it was calling up a limited number of reservists to man Iron Dome missile defense batteries as well as to beef up the Home Front Command.
As of 4:30 p.m. Israel time, the IDF was reporting more than 160 rocket launches and over 50 interceptions.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after a security cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv: “Terrorists think they can hit civilians and hide behind civilians. We showed that we can hit the terrorist with minimal damage to civilians. Anyone who thinks they can hit our civilians and get away with it is wrong. If you hit us we will hit you.”
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said that Al-Ata was the person who tried to undermine Israel’s efforts to reach a ceasefire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “In recent days he was working to perpetrate attacks against Israel,” he said. “We tried to thwart his efforts in different ways without success and we then recommended a targeted killing.”
Kochavi added: “We are not interested in an escalation but we are ready – on the ground, in the air and at sea.”
The IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories closed the Erez and Kerem HaShalom crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip, and restricted the fishing zone Palestinians can enter off the coast of Gaza.
“We stand behind the security forces, who have been working for the success of this morning’s operations for a long time,” said President Reuven Rivlin in a statement. “I know that they, and the Israeli government that approved the operation, have Israel’s security, and only that, in their minds.
“This is no time for political squabbles, and those who do so bring no credit to themselves. It is the time to stop such statements immediately. Israeli citizens – please listen to the life-saving instructions of the IDF Home Front Command and take good care of yourselves.”
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat condemned as a “crime” the assassination of al-Ata.
Erekat, in a statement published by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa, said that the Israeli government bears “full responsibility for the results of this crime.”
At least 50 rockets were fired towards Israel on Tuesday morning after the IDF confirmed that it had killed al-Ata in Gaza in a “surgical airstrike.”
An hour after the strike, sirens were activated in numerous communities bordering the Gaza Strip as well as the cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod and Gedera. At least two rockets impacted in the city of Sderot, causing one light injury and damaging a home. Incoming rocket sirens were also activated in the central Israeli cities of Rishon Lezion and Holon.
Several Israelis were injured, including an eight-year-old girl who collapsed while running for shelter in Holon. She was evacuated to Wolfson hospital in serious condition. READ MORE
Sirens sound in central Israel, warning of rockets from Gaza Strip
Sirens sounded in central Israeli towns on Tuesday, the military said, warning for possible rocket launches from the Gaza Strip, after Israel killed a top Palestinian militant there.
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