The army launched over 160 attacks on terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip overnight Tuesday as fighting in the south intensified after the first day of Operation Protective Edge saw rockets fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, extending further north than some had expected.
At least one Palestinian was killed in response to morning fire at Tel Aviv Wednesday, and Palestinian media report that a father and son were killed in yet another IAF response attack on central Gaza.
According to the military, they hit at least 120 concealed rocket launchers and destroyed ten homes of senior Hamas commanders, among them the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades’ Rafah and Khan Yunis regional commanders.
The IDF also targeted symbols of Hamas’ Gaza regime, including the Interior Security Ministry and a naval outpost, and smuggeling tunnels near Rafah.
A senior military source said such operations would continue until at least the evening hours, when additional brigades will reach the Gaza-area ahead of a possible ground operation.
Gaza terror warehouse targeted (Photo: IDF)
According to the IDF, since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge late Monday night IAF and navy forces launched no less than 435 attacks on Gaza, while 225 rockets were fired at Israel. Some 40 of those rockets were intercepted by Israel’s advanced Iron Dome missile interception system.
At least 24 people were killed across Gaza, Palestinian officials said on Wednesday. Israelis ran for cover late on Tuesday as air-raid sirens sounded in the business capital Tel Aviv and the holy city of Jerusalem, both of which were hit in the Gaza war of November 2012.
IAF attack home of senior Hamas commanderHamas said it also fired a rocket at the major northern city of Haifa, 140 km (88 miles) away, and though this was not confirmed, Israel said a rocket had landed in Hadera, 100 km (60 miles) from Gaza, further than had previously been reached.
Overnight attacks on Gaza (Photo: AFP)
The rocket that fell in Hadera, which is north of Tel Aviv, could be a Chinese M-302 rocket, which was made in Syria and smuggled to Gaza by Iran. The rocket, which probably failed to explode, and could be a makeshift version of the M-302 rocket, was found at roughly 11:30 pm Tuesday.
Senior commander killed
Hafez Hamed, a commander in the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, al-Quds Brigades, was killed in an IAF attack in Beit Hanoun on Tuesday night, along with five members of his family.
The IDF also reportedly launched a missile at the home of Hamas military wing chief Raed al-Atar in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, who was among those responsible for the abduction of Gilad Shalit. However, there were no casualties in the attack.
Hamas terror cell killed (Photo: EPA)
The IDF attacked over 270 terror targets in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, most of them from the sea, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Moti Almoz said Tuesday evening.
The army also deployed Artillery Corps troops along the Gaza border, and some 40,000 reservists were called up for the Central and Southern Commands.
IAF attack on Gaza (Photo: Reuters)
According to Palestinian reports, at least 23 people were killed and over 100 wounded so far on Tuesday.
Seven Palestinians were wounded in an IDF attack in Khan Younis. Two Palestinians were killed and several wounded in an IAF attack in Gaza City.
Seven Palestinians, among them two children under the age of five, were killed and about 25 wounded in an IAF attack on Tuesday on a house in the Gaza Strip, Gaza media and the Palestinian Interior Ministry said.
Local residents said the home in Khan Yunis in the northern strip belonged to the Kawara family, at least one of which was a Hamas member, and that the casualties occurred when it came under attack for the second time on Tuesday.
After the first strike, people had gathered on its roof as “human shields”, hoping their presence would deter a second strike, the residents said. Hamas has already called the attack a “crime against humanity” and dubbed it the “massacre of Khan Yunis.”
An initial IDF investigation into the deaths in Khas Younis found that troops have alerted the family of the imminent strike instructed them to evacuate the building.
The homes were hit using what the IDF call the ‘Knock on the roof’ procedure, in which forces fire a small mortar at the target to indicate the imminent attack and signal those inside to flee before hitting it with full forces.