Israel’s operation to stem Palestinian rocket fire on southern Israel continued
in its sixth day on Monday. The Israel Air Force struck over 80 terrorist
targets in Gaza, while Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired 130 rockets into
The IAF has struck over 1,350 targets in Gaza since the start of
Operation Pillar of Defense, including 80 on Monday. The targets included
bomb-smuggling tunnels, underground rocket launchers, and four Islamic Jihad
Southern cities were repeatedly targeted by Palestinian
rocket attacks and air raid sirens sent people running for cover in Ashkelon,
Ashdod, Beersheba and towns and villages across the South.
fell in built-up areas, and one caused major damage to a school in Ashkelon that
was closed due to the conflict with Hamas and other terror groups in
Magen David Adom teams treated 16 patients on Monday, including a
63-year-old woman hit by falling shrapnel from a rocket fired from
Nine out of the 16 are suffering from shock and anxiety, medics
MDA forces have dealt with over 252 casualties since the beginning
of the Gaza operation, including three killed by a rocket in Kiryat Malachi and
21 injured as a result of falling shrapnel.
The Iron Dome intercepted
more than 20 rockets on Monday, and 350 rockets in total since the start of the
The IAF launched a precision air strike on four senior Islamic
Jihad terrorists who were using a Gaza media building as a hideout. The
terrorists were all struck by a missile that hit the second story of the
building. They were hurt in the blast, and at least one has been killed,
according to Palestinian medical sources.
They have been identified as
Bha’a Abu Ata, Tisir Mahmoud Jabari, Khalil Bahatini and Ramaz Harb.
was a member of Islamic Jihad’s supreme military council and the commander of
the Gaza City brigade. He led rocket fire on Israel and oversaw the manufacture
and import of rockets, including long-range Fajr projectiles.
was also a member of the supreme military council, headed terror operations and
orchestrated the firing of many rockets into Israel. He also took part in
attacks on IDF forces. Bahatini was a senior operative involved in Islamic
Jihad’s long-range rocket program.
Harb was an Islamic Jihad spokesman
and an aid to Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, who was killed by Israel last
Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy organization in Gaza, and
receives direct orders from Tehran, as well as arms, long-range rockets and
Speaking to heads of IDF brigades massed at the border with
Gaza, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said, “I trust you, when I release
this spring... and you trust me that I will only release it when I think it is
the necessary thing to do. I won’t do it beforehand. Good luck.”
Spokesman Yoav Mordechai said, “We are in the sixth day of Operation Pillar of
Defense; the command and control of the Hamas leadership has been badly hurt,
from Jabari and through to other senior members.
We’ll examine the
results. In recent days, we’ve struck rocket launchers ready to fire on
Dozens of smuggling tunnels have been hit.
Hamas posts and
weapons depots have been seriously hit. The operation is continuing
Mordechai added that the IAF also struck rocket-launching
crews trying to shoot projectiles into Israel.
“The scale of the rocket
fire is decreasing.
While it is continuing, terrorists are starting to
retreat from open areas, and the rocketlaunching efforts are moving to central
Gaza,” he said.
The IAF also struck a soccer stadium used to fire rockets
and store weapons. Yoav said it had been “turned into a terror stadium. It was
hit and destroyed.”
'Iran using Islamic Jihad to drag Israel into wide conflict'
Senior counter-terrorism expert Dr. Ely Karmon, of
the Herzliya-based Institute for Counter-Terrorism, told The Jerusalem Post that
Iran is using Islamic Jihad to try and drag Israel into a conflict “not only in
Gaza, but also with Egypt, if we enter the Strip [in a ground
“This is the goal of the Iranians, to make [the world]
forget about their nuclear project,” he added.
“Hamas is driven, in my
opinion, by the desire to see a more firm Egyptian regime on their side and
compel them to entirely open all border crossings with Gaza,” Karmon
He warned that Hezbollah too may attempt to launch a provocation
On Sunday night, a rocket directly hit a house near Kiryat
Malachi. No injuries were reported, but the rocket caused damage to the
A witness on the scene, Gal Goldberg, 17, told the Post he
heard a powerful blast as the rocket landed on the home next to
“When we heard the siren, we entered a safe room, the blast shook
the walls, we went outside and saw people running towards the house that was
hit. We saw widespread wreckage,” Gal said.
The residents of the house
had taken cover in the safe room. The rocket was part of a salvo of several
Grads, many of which were intercepted by Iron Dome interceptors over
Goldberg said that the IAF must continue its operation in Gaza.