Overnight IDF Strikes bring Target Total to 500
By Maayana Miskin
The IDF hit roughly 150 terrorist targets in Gaza over Thursday night. Most of the targets hit were rocket launchers used for mid-range missiles.
IAF planes also took out several weapons storage sites.
A total of 500 Gaza targets have been hit since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense.
The Palestinian Authority media reported that another site targeted Thursday night was the home of senior Hamas commander Mohammad Sanour in Khan Younis. Two people were reportedly injured in the strike.
The strikes have so far had the desired effect: a significant reduction in the frequency of rocket attacks on Israel. Terrorists launched several rockets overnight, compared to several dozen per night earlier in the week.
Strikes continue, with the IDF taking out underground launch sites. IDF sources said the military has precise intelligence information on the location of the sites.
IDF spokespeople have urged civilians in Gaza who are aware of Hamas installations or rocket launching near their home to temporarily leave the area.
The Hebrew name for the operation is Amud Anan, a reference to the G-d-sent Pillar of Smoke (cloud) that protected the Children of Israel in their desert sojourn during the day, while a pillar of fire lit their way at night. Since the literal translation would not have that association, the English official translation differs from the literal meaning of the expression.
Rockets on Southern Cities, Homes Hit
By Maayana Miskin
Gaza terrorists resumed frequent attacks on southern Israel on Friday morning after a relatively quiet night as the IDF took out more than 150 targets in the area.
Rockets were fired at the cities of Ashdod, Ofakim and Ashkelon, as well as smaller communities in the Eshkol and Shaar Hanegev regions.
In Ashdod a rocket hit next to a residential building, causing damage and sending several residents into shock. Thankfully there were no physical injuries.
In the Shaar Hanegev and Eshkol regions, rockets hit two homes, setting one on fire. The owners were elsewhere at the time.
Two rockets hit the Ofakim area but caused neither damage nor injury. An additional 13 rockets that hit the Eshkol region likewise did not cause damage or injury.
The Iron Dome defense system has shot down more than 130 rockets since Operation Pillar of Defense began three days ago.
Gaza Terrorists Have Fired Over 300 Rockets at Israel
By Elad Benari
The number of rockets fired at Israel by Gaza-based terrorists since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense has matched the number of targets the IDF has struck in Gaza.
According to Kol Yisrael radio’s hourly news bulletin at 2:00 a.m. Friday morning (Israel time), terrorists fired 300 rockets at Israel from Wednesday to Thursday. The IDF Spokesperson released a statement on Thursday night which indicated that since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF has struck more than 300 targets throughout Gaza.
Rockets struck the cities of Be’er Sheva and Ashkelon shortly before 2:00 a.m. There were no physical injuries or damages, reported Kol Yisrael.
The Iron Dome anti-missile system has been able to intercept the majority of the rockets that were fired at southern Israel.
Three people were killed as a result of a Grad missile attack on Kiryat Malachi Thursday morning. The three were killed during or within minutes of the attack, after efforts to save them failed. One of the victims was Mirah Scharf, who was an emissary of Chabad involved in outreach in India. Scharf was in Israel on a short visit in order to give birth and pay respects to the Chabad victims of the Mumbai terror attack in 2008.
Also on Thursday, two missiles were fired at central Israel. A siren was heard in Tel Aviv, but the IDF clarified that the missiles did not hit the ground.
Despite the tension and ongoing rocket attacks, Israelis have shown incredible solidarity towards one another. Israelis in central Israel, as well as in Judea and Samaria, have opened their homes and offered to host families from the south, so they won’t have to live within 15 seconds of a shelter and can walk outside without fear.
Israeli radio stations have notified listeners whenever “Red Alert” sirens are sounded. This is done not only to make sure people in the south hear them as they can't be missed in the cities affected, but so that all Israeli citizens will feel solidarity with the south.
Army Radio host Razi Barkai spoke on Thursday evening with a bus driver who drives a route connecting between Be’er Sheva and Tel Aviv. The driver thanked the radio station for informing listeners of the sirens, and said that it is sometimes difficult to clearly hear the sirens on the moving bus. Having the radio inform him of a siren, he said, allows him to stop the bus and keep the passengers safe.
Gantz Approves Call-Up of 16,000 Reservists
By Maayan Miskin
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has approved the call-up of 16,000 reserves soldiers. Some of the call-up orders have already been issued, and many reservists are on their way to their units.
The decision to call up reservists is part of ongoing planning for a possible ground invasion of Gaza. Terrorists in the area have continued to fire rockets on cities in southern Israel even as the IAF takes out hundreds of launch sites and other terror targets.
Rocket fire grew less frequent on Thursday night, but resumed Friday morning with attacks on Ashdod, Ofakim and elsewhere.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved the call-up of 30,000 reservists. He said Thursday that the call-up was approved “so that we will be prepared for any new type of development, if and when required.”
Rocket fire at the greater Tel Aviv area showed an escalation in Gaza terrorism, he said, “and the other side will pay a heavy price for this escalation.”