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The IDF destroyed military targets of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip.
In a joint statement, Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz explained that the aim of this operation is the elimination of a concrete threat against the citizens of Israel and civilians living next to Gaza, as well as targeting terrorists and their sponsors.
The IDF is acting in coordination with intelligence agencies. Lapid expressed that the Israeli government will not allow terrorist organizations in the Strip to set the agenda in the area and threaten the citizens of the state. “The security forces will act against Jihad terrorists to eliminate the threat they pose,” the premier said.
For his part, Gantz noted that the goal is to protect the state and civilians. No one will be allowed to threaten or harm Israel’s citizens. “Whoever tries to do so will be hurt,” he pointed out.
Rocket attacks from Gaza, targeting Hebrew cities, came hours after an Air Force strike in the northern Gaza Strip. More than 100 rockets were fired into southern and central Israel on Friday night and early Saturday morning, hours after the IDF destroyed multiple terrorist bases, killing a senior Islamic Jihad leader as well as several collaborators.
Sirens were heard in numerous Israeli cities as rockets were fired at Yavne, Be’er Yaakov, Ashdod, and Gaza’s border farming communities. Most of the rockets were intercepted by the effective Iron Dome defense system. The IDF retaliated and struck additional targets affiliated with the Islamic Jihad terrorist infrastructure.
Terrorists fire on civilians
The level of the response rose as rockets were fired into central Israel, including the cities of Rishon Letzion, Bat Yam and Holon. An hour later, more shells were fired at Sderot, Ibim, and Nir Am. No casualties were reported. Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the attacks.
The rocket fire came after the IDF attacked Jihad military targets on Friday, in what Israel called Operation Breaking Dawn. The strikes destroyed Islamic Jihad military structures and included the assassination of top terrorist leader Tayseer al-Jabari.
On Friday night, Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the strikes had been in response to a major terrorist attack being planned by Islamic Jihad after its leader was arrested on Monday.
IDF spokesman Ran Kojav noted that “we are in the midst of a campaign against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, targeting directly at the center of the organization.” Detailing the context in which the IDF has resorted to airstrikes, he explained that Jabari was responsible for the specific threat over the past three to four days of firing anti-tank missiles at civilians or soldiers in the Gaza border area, referring to the downed terrorist leader. “We carried out a devastating ambush, which thwarted Jabari and members of the anti-tank cells,” Kojav explained.
In subsequent attacks, Israel targeted rocket launching positions, some of which were used recently. “We have no desire to prolong the operation, but it is not over. It will take time,” the spokesman said.
According to local authorities, all the rockets fired fell in open areas or were destroyed by the defense system. Sirens sounded near Ashkelon and in southern and central Israeli cities. In Tel Aviv, residents reported hearing explosions from Iron Dome missile interceptors. The state ambulance service —Magen David Adom— so far received no reports of injuries following the wave of attacks.
Eduardo Zalovich, Uruguayan-Israeli, is a history professor and journalist. He has written for several media, such as La Vanguardia, El Confidencial, Vozpopuli, Búsqueda and Correo de los Viernes. Zalovich analyzes, from the Middle East, the reality of the region and international politics. // Eduardo Zalovich, uruguayo-israelí, es profesor de Historia y periodista. Ha escrito para varios medios, como La Vanguardia, El Confidencial, Vozpopuli, Búsqueda y Correo de los Viernes. Analiza, desde el Medio Oriente, la realidad de la zona y la política internacional.