Benny Gantz 311.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
The IDF approved a series of operations aimed at widening the scope of its
responses to ongoing Islamic Jihad rocket attacks from Gaza on Sunday, as Egypt
tried to mediate a second cease-fire after the first attempt at a truce lasted
only several hours.
The planning for an intensified Israeli response,
which was overseen by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, took place in
the command and control room of the IDF’s Southern Command in Beersheba, and in
As senior defense chiefs spent Sunday preparing for a further
escalation, they treated reports of a new cease-fire with skepticism, after
Gazans shattered a brief calm by attempting to fire a rocket into Israel around
The terrorist cell that prepared the rocket for launch was struck
successfully by an air force aircraft, thwarting the attack. The cell reportedly
belonged to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. One terrorist
was killed and another was seriously wounded.
Following the preemptive
strike, two projectiles were fired from Gaza at the Ashkelon Coast Regional
Council, south of Ashkelon, on Sunday evening, triggering air raid sirens. The
rockets struck in open areas and failed to cause injuries or damage. A third
rocket targeted the same area on Sunday night.
“We’re not waiting for any
decision by Islamic Jihad,” IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said,
referring to reports of a cease-fire.
He said Gantz had ordered the army
to prepare a number of responses that had been approved by the government to
intensify Israeli efforts to stem the rocket fire.
“There are pinpoint
plans to strike terrorist infrastructure – and more than that,” Mordechai said.
“Until now, the IDF has harmed the Islamic Jihad’s rocket manufacturing and
firing infrastructure, including a senior member who was responsible for these
things,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Islamic Jihad and Hamas leaders “not
to test our abilities,” following a meeting with security and intelligence
Islamic Jihad continued to threaten strikes deeper into Israel
following the air force’s attack on the rocket launching crew in
“Our response will be a clear message,” said Daud Shihab, an
Islamic Jihad spokesman. “We will widen the circle of fire and include new
settlements and cities deep in Israel.”
The Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad
is one of the most heavily armed organizations in Gaza, and is believed to have
Despite reports of a ceasefire, municipal officials in
Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheba and Gan Yavne decided to take no chances and
canceled classes at all schools in their districts.
With the exception of
Ashkelon, Monday will be the second day in a row in which schoolchildren in the
South will remain at home because of the security situation.
was taken against the advice of the Home Front Command, which advised southern
communities that schools could be reopened. It signaled the lack of faith local
leaders placed in claims that the situation was heading toward calm.
day began with yet another wave of Grad attacks on major southern
Eleven rockets in total were fired. The Iron Dome shield
intercepted two rockets heading for Ashdod. A third hit in the Gan Yavne
Regional Council. Ashkelon was also targeted.
Earlier, long before dawn,
rockets were fired in Beersheba’s general direction, falling short of the city.
Air raid sirens on the outskirts of the city went off, and residents awoke to
hear sirens and explosions. No injuries were reported.
The IDF struck six
targets in Gaza on Saturday and Sunday, including three rocket launching
positions and a tunnel used by terrorists.
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