Gazans fire 62 rockets at South, 20 intercepted

Terrorists shoot at least 200 rockets into Israel in past 24 hours; IAF strikes 120 targets across Gaza.

November 21, 2012 14:46
Smoke rises after IAF strike in Gaza

Gaza on Fire 20 Nov 390. (photo credit: Mohammed Salem / Reuters)


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Gazan rocket fire at southern Israel resumed on Wednesday morning after a relatively quiet night on the Israeli side.

Terrorists fired over 81 rockets at various cities and communities in the South, with four people injured in the Eshkol Regional Council by a mortar shell.

One rocket hit a house in Be'er Tuviya directly. No one was injured in this attack.

The Iron Dome missile-defense system intercepted at least 20 rockets fired from Gaza on Ashkelon, Beersheba, Be'er Tuviya, Hof Ashkelon and Ashdod on Wednesday morning.

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On Wednesday, Palestinian sources reported at least eight killed in IDF naval and air strikes as attacks hit around 120 targets throughout the Gaza Strip in twenty-four hours.

Approximately 50 of the terror sites targeted were underground rocket launchers, the IDF Spokesman's Office stated.

A senior Hamas operative responsible for aerial defense operations was targeted in overnight strikes, as well as several other terrorist squads, according to IDF Spokespersons.

Targets included smuggling tunnels, military communication centers, a police compound, rocket launching sites, three weapons depots and a weapons manufacturing site.

The IAF also targeted the Ministry of Internal Security in Gaza, which the IDF stated served as one of Hamas's main command and control centers.

Rockets from Gaza

On Tuesday, terrorists in Gaza fired intense rocket salvos at Israeli city centers, trying to overwhelm the Iron Dome rocket shield, and striking a number of buildings.

A mortar attack on the Eshkol region claimed the life of 18-year-old soldier Yosef Partuk, from Emanuel. The IDF posthumously promoted him to the rank of corporal. The shell also wounded six soldiers.

Partuk's funeral will be held at 1:30 p.m in Givat Shaul in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, a Hamas rocket killed Alayaan Salem al-Nabari, a 29-year-old Beduin man from the Rahat area.

Direct rocket strikes in Rishon Lezion and Ashdod wounded several civilians.

Click to englarge

Magen David Adom spokesman Zaki Heller said MDA paramedics on Tuesday treated 112 Israelis, including three who were wounded by shrapnel – one seriously and two lightly – and 27 who sustained injuries while running for safe rooms.

MDA also treated 82 people who suffered from shock. Since the start of the operation, five Israelis have died, including three civilians killed last week.

According to National Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, Gazans fired 170 rockets into Israel on Tuesday.

Of those, the Iron Dome intercepted 53. Every major city in the South was hit, Rosenfeld added, including five separate strikes on Beersheba alone.

Terrorists also fired a rocket at Jerusalem, triggering air raid sirens. The rocket hit near Bethlehem.

Earlier, shelling moderately wounded an IDF reservist near Gaza.

More than 140 rockets pounded southern Israel throughout the day. A grocery in Ashdod was destroyed by a rocket that sent shrapnel flying, wounding seven people.

A home in Ashkelon also sustained a direct hit, sustaining widespread damage.

Waves of rockets targeted Beersheba, sending residents to bomb shelters repeatedly.

The Iron Dome shot down more than 50 incoming projectiles over cities. The five batteries have intercepted some 400 rockets since the IDF operation to stop Palestinian rocket fire began last Wednesday.

IAF strikes rocket launchers, tunnels, terrorists in Gaza

Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Air Force struck dozens of rocket launchers, attack tunnels and terrorists in their vehicles. In the late hours of Tuesday night, the IAF struck 25 targets in Gaza.

Reuters quoted medical officials in Gaza as saying 31 Palestinians were killed on Tuesday. Gaza medical officials say 138 people have died in Israeli strikes overall, mostly civilians, including 34 children.

Reports stated one strike on Tuesday night hit an eight-storey media building housing the AFP's Gaza office. The IDF confirmed a pinpoint strike in the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City.

Earlier on Tuesday, two cameramen working for al-Aqsa TV and an educational programming director for the al-Quds channel, both affiliated with Gaza's Hamas government, were killed by IAF strikes on their cars on Tuesday.

The cameramen were killed in their car not far from the main Shifa hospital in Gaza city. The al-Quds program director was killed in his car in the central Gaza Strip.

Their deaths have sparked outrage among Gaza's press corps and also from Hamas, which accused Israel of trying to suppress coverage of Israeli attacks in the coastal enclave.

A tower block housing many of Gaza's local and international media offices has twice been bombed by Israeli planes in recent days, in attacks Israel said targeted the communications infrastructure and personnel of terrorist groups.

Fifty percent of Tuesday’s air strikes targeted rocket launchers as they were firing projectiles. Three percent were directed at command and control centers, while 22% hit other rocket launchers, many hidden underground.

Twelve percent of the IAF strikes were aimed at disrupting launches, and 4% targeted weapons production sites. Eight percent of the strikes targeted terror tunnels, and 1% hit official Hamas regime buildings.

Since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense (in Hebrew, Pillar of Cloud), the air force has hit 1,450 terrorist targets.

An air strike killed Islamic Jihad member Yuni Shaluf, who was responsible for firing rockets on Eilat earlier this year. The IAF also struck the home of Azi Abudma, a regional Hamas commander.

The air force bombed dozens of Palestinian terrorist cells during the day that were in the process of setting up rocket launchers to fire at Israel.

Jets targeted underground rocket launchers as well.

A total of 30 rocket launchers and 40 attack tunnels – dug to infiltrate Israel and kidnap soldiers – were destroyed.

IDF tanks and artillery fired on targets as well. In the evening, the navy fired on Hamas targets along the Gaza coast.

The IAF also bombed a terror cell that had set up a position on the Gaza border and was about to fire an anti-tank missile at a kibbutz.

Earlier, the IDF dropped leaflets on the northern and eastern Gaza Strip instructing civilians to leave for central Gaza at once.

“For your safety, you are requested to evacuate your homes immediately and head toward central Gaza City via the following roads,” one leaflet said, going on to outline routes for civilians.

On Tuesday morning, a Palestinian rocket demolished a home in Beersheba. The family living there survived by taking cover in the safe room.

Before that, the IAF struck the Salafi Jihadi Army of Islam group in southern Gaza, striking two vehicles carrying the organization’s leadership. The Army of Islam took part in the crossborder kidnapping of IDF tank gunner Gilad Schalit in June 2006.

Ben Hartman and Reuters contributed to this report.

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