IDF says Gaza's Islamic Jihad severely damaged

IDF impressed by Islamic Jihad's ability to launch more than 300 rockets during five main days of hostility.

By
March 18, 2012 02:34
2 minute read.
Islamic Jihad operatives [file]

Islamic Jihad operatives 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Gazans fired a few rockets at Israel on Friday, but none on Saturday as of press time. IDF sources said that Islamic Jihad was severely beaten in the recent round of violence and that it would need time to rebuild its capabilities.

The air force bombed more than 40 targets throughout the Gaza Strip over the past week, including nearly 20 rocket squads, and several weapons storage centers and underground long-range rocket launchers.

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On Friday, one of the Kassam rockets struck the Eshkol Regional Council. No one was wounded.

After a week when many schools in the South were closed, all classes were expected to return to normal on Sunday.

“Islamic Jihad was hit hard in the recent round of violence but the rocket fire continued since it needs to be able to have the last word,” a senior IDF source said over the weekend.

On the other hand, the source said that the IDF was impressed by Islamic Jihad’s ability to fire more than 300 rockets during the main five days of hostilities, even though a significant number hit in Gaza and close to 60 were intercepted by the Iron Dome counter-rocket defense system.

The IDF source said that by last Tuesday, Islamic Jihad was “begging” Egypt to convince Israel to accept a ceasefire.

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The source also said that Israel was satisfied with Egypt’s role in brokering the truce, an indication that Cairo still had influence in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF believes that Islamic Jihad refrained from firing its long-range Iranian-supplied Fajr-5 artillery rockets that have the capability to hit Tel Aviv.

Meanwhile on Friday, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai accused Tehran of “pulling the strings” behind the rocket fire against Israel from the Gaza Strip. As reported last week in The Jerusalem Post, IDF Military Intelligence said that Iran was actively encouraging Islamic Jihad to continue and even escalate its rocket attacks against Israel.

“The regime of ayatollahs in Iran continues to operate proxies in Lebanon and Gaza and to support them with weapons and funds,” Mordechai wrote on his Facebook wall. Next to the comment, Mordechai has posted a cartoon of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holding puppets of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

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