IDF prepares for expanded rocket fire as Shield and Arrow enters day three

Palestinian rocket fire and IDF retaliatory strikes continued on Thursday morning.

 Rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel, in Gaza May 10, 2023 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)
Rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel, in Gaza May 10, 2023
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

The defense establishment was preparing additional strikes and for the possibility that the rocket fire towards Israel would intensify and expand, said Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as Operation Shield and Arrow entered its third day on Thursday.

"I expressed my appreciation to the IDF and Shin Bet for the precise targeting tonight of the head of the Islamic Jihad rocket array," said Galant. "I instructed all the security forces to take all the necessary measures to prepare a series of additional operations, and to maintain a high level of readiness and vigilance for the possibility of an expansion of the circle of fire."

The IDF struck a number of targets belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist movement throughout the Gaza Strip as Operation Shield and Arrow continued on Thursday.

The targeted sites included an operations room belonging to the PIJ used for coordinating anti-tank missile attacks, a mortar launcher belonging to the PIJ near Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, a house in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza and a rocket launcher near Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, among other targets, according to Palestinian reports. No injuries were reported in the strikes.

IDF strikes Palestinian Islamic Jihad mortar launchers and observation posts in Gaza. (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

Amid the strikes, rocket sirens sounded in communities near the Gaza border. Four mortars fell near homes in a town in the Eshkol Regional Council amid the rocket fire, causing light damage, and a chicken coop in the town council was hit by a rocket as well. No injuries were reported.

The renewed strikes began shortly after six mortars were fired from Gaza toward Kissufim, near the Gaza border. That rocket fire came after an over eight-hour lull in rocket fire during which the IDF assassinated PIJ rocket commander Ali Ghali.

Over 500 rockets fired from Gaza towards Israel

Since Operation Shield and Arrow was launched on Tuesday morning, over 500 rockets have been fired from Gaza towards Israel, with over 100 (about one in five) falling short in the Strip. 154 of the rockets have been intercepted by the IDF.

On Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a situation assessment with National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi, cabinet secretary Tzachi Braverman and the prime minister's military secretary Avi Gil.