Hamas set a "classic humanitarian trap" and attempted to get the air force to kill Gazan civilians when it fired medium-range rockets from sensitive civilian buildings, in Gaza's Shati region, a senior IAF officer said Monday.
On Saturday, rockets were fired from northern Gaza at Israel's Shfela region, south of Tel Aviv. The rockets were fired from rooftops, and from launchers next to several buildings; the Shuhada medical center, a basketball court and two schools, named by the IDF as Iben Sina and Salah Halef.
The schools were used as an evacuation center for Gazan civilians at the time of Hamas's attack, the official said.
On Sunday, the IDF evacuated the region, and dispatched a fighter jet to strike the rocket launchers. "It is a very sensitive area. You can see that Hamas set up the launchers on top, and next to the structures. This is a classic humanitarian trap. Last night, we struck the launchers with precision strikes after evacuating the area," the source said.
"Hamas is trying to get us to hit civilian buildings. I've seen with my own eyes many examples of this over the past 49 days. The fact that evacuated Gazan civilians were at the schools shows the scope of the trap set for us. This is a cynical use of civilians by Hamas. It also exhibits our ability to detect and analyze intelligence information, evacuate the population, and direct precision firepower," the source added.
"The air force has been doing things like this throughout the duration of the operation," he said.
The IAF is continuing to target Hamas operatives responsible for rocket fire, and are chipping away at a large infrastructure that is behind the ongoing projectile attacks.
"We can continue doing this for a long time. This will continue for as long as necessary," the source stated. The aim of the fighting is not to destroy every rocket in Hamas's possession, but to remove its desire to continue firing, he stressed. Hamas is "close" to reaching that stage, the source argued.
If Hamas continues, it would eventually run out of weapons, he added. "The accumulative damage is on their side. They are close to saying that they have had enough."