Israel under fire – IDF responds
26 Jul 2014
Since the start of Operation Protective Edge, at least 2,400 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza.
The Hamas terror tunnels
Copyright: IDF Spokesperson
PM Netanyahu and DM Yaalon (17 July 2014) instructed the IDF to commence ground action to strike at the terrorist tunnels from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.
The cabinet approved the ground operation after Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal and Hamas rejected it and continued to fire rockets on Israel’s cities. Hamas also violated the UN-requested humanitarian cease-fire by continuing to fire on Israel.
Israel will defend its citizens in response to Hamas’s unceasing aggression and infiltrations into Israeli territory, as it did Thursday morning when Hamas terrorists crossed into Israel via one of the tunnels with the goal of carrying out a mass casualty attack against Israeli civilians.
Operation Protective Edge will continue until its goals are reached – restoring sustained peace and quiet to the citizens of Israel, while striking hard at the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza.
Israel is doing everything it can to avoid civilian casualties. By contrast, Hamas is using Palestinian civilians as human shields and is responsible for any harm that comes to them. To give but one example, the UN announced today that Hamas had hidden rockets in an UNRWA school in Gaza.
The international community has recognized that Israel has made significant efforts to restore peace and quiet and that it has the right to defend itself.
From 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, there will be a humanitarian window in Gaza. During this time, operational activities to locate and neutralize terror tunnels will continue. The IDF will respond if terrorists exploit the lull to fire at Israeli soldiers or civilians.
At noon on Friday, terrorists fired mortars and anti-tank missiles from near an UNRWA school in Gaza, killing an IDF soldier. Another soldier was killed Friday morning during fighting in the northern Gaza Strip.
IDF destroys rocket launchers ready for firing near two schools and a mosque in the Gaza Strip.
A Thai agricultural worker was killed by a mortar fired from Gaza while working in a greenhouse in one of the Israeli communities in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council.
Hamas terrorists have turned Wafa Hospital in Gaza into a command center and a rocket-launching site. The IDF is targeting specific sites and terrorists within the grounds of the hospital, from which Hamas continues to fire at our forces. The IDF repeatedly conveyed warnings to the hospital staff and urged civilians to leave the area in advance. Hamas is telling them to stay.
IDF Spokesman Peter Lerner: “Hamas terrorists have been intentionally abusing the hospital and other international protected symbols to indiscriminately attack Israel and its civilians. The IDF is determined in preventing the ongoing aggression by Hamas that is directed by a strategy of exploitation and abuse of the civilian population and its wellbeing.”
Dr. Basman Alashi, head of Wafa Hospital, reportedly said that the hospital is currently empty of staff and patients, who were transferred to a different facility in Gaza City a week ago.
Three Paratroopers were killed in Gaza.
July 21: Terror infiltration from northern Gaza
Four IDF soldiers were killed early in the morning by a rocket-propelled grenade, fired by Hamas gunmen who emerged from a tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel near Kibbutz Nir Am. The Hamas cell, clad in IDF uniforms, emerged from the tunnel, and waited for an approaching IDF jeep before opening fire, killing the IDF officer and the three soldiers in the vehicle.
Five more were killed fighting terrorists in Gaza.
The tunnel infiltration involved two groups of Hamas gunmen. The second cell emerged near Erez, on Israeli territory. Surveillance soldiers spotted the infiltrators and summoned an aircraft to the area. The aircraft opened fire, killing the gunmen.
July 20: 13 Israeli soldiers of the Golani Brigade were killed overnight in the course of the IDF operation in Gaza.
In the first incident, terrorists detonated an explosive device on an armored vehicle, causing the death of seven soldiers.
In the second attack, terrorists opened fire at two IDF soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip, killing one. Later, IDF soldiers were attacked by a terrorist squad in northern Gaza, leading to the death of two soldiers. Lastly, three IDF soldiers lost their lives when they became trapped in a burning building.
Israel agrees to humanitarian window
Israel agreed to the Red Cross request for a humanitarian window in Sejaiya and will hold fire there from 13:30-15:30. Since July 8, Hamas has fired over 140 rockets at Israel from Sejaiya, and 10 tunnel openings have been uncovered.
IDF: Although we agreed to the Red Cross’ request to extend the a ceasefire in Sejaiya until 17:30, Hamas has not stopped shooting from Sejaiya and opened fire from near Wafa Hospital.
Israel opened a field hospital on the Israeli side of the Erez Crossing for Palestinians in Gaza.
July 19: Terror infiltration from central Gaza
Two IDF soldiers were killed when Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israeli territory through a tunnel from the central Gaza Strip and ambushed a military vehicle patrolling on the Israeli side of the border.
Items found after the attack, including handcuffs and bottles containing sedatives, indicate that Hamas planned to kill and kidnap soldiers and/or civilians and take them back to Gaza.
The IDF has uncovered 13 tunnels and over 30 tunnel entrances.
July 17: Terror tunnel
Early Thursday morning (July 17), just a few hours before the start of a humanitarian ceasefire, IDF forces thwarted an attack by Hamas terrorists who attempted to infiltrate Israel via a terror tunnel, preventing the terrorists from attacking an Israeli kibbutz.
Following requests by representatives of the UN and other international organizations on Wednesday evening (July 16, 2014), the IDF has declared a “humanitarian window” in Gaza on Thursday, 17 July between 10:00-15:00. The purpose of the humanitarian window is to allow the civilian population in Gaza to get needed supplies such as food and medications. During this time the IDF will not initiate military actions in Gaza, but will respond in case Israel is attacked.
Gazan terrorists violated the truce by firing three mortars at Israel. An IDF soldier was lightly injured by an explosion during operational activity near southern Gaza. One minute after 3pm, rocket fire from Gaza resumed against Israeli civilian areas. The IDF subsequently resumed attacks on terror targets in Gaza.
July 15: Egyptian ceasefire proposal
Israel accepted an earlier Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire to begin on Tuesday morning, 15 July 2014, at 09:00. This proposal was rejected by Hamas.
PM Netanyahu: “If Hamas rejects the Egyptian proposal, and the rocket fire from Gaza does not cease, and that appears to be the case now, we are prepared to continue and intensify our operation to protect our people. For this we have kept full support from the responsible members of the international community.”
IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner: “In according with the government directives, the IDF now holds fire. We remain alert and preserve high preparedness levels, both defensive and offensive. If the Hamas terror organization will fire at Israel, we shall respond.”
Five hours later, following the continuation of rocket fire from Gaza, PM Netanyahu said: “Hamas’s rejection of the cease fire gives Israel full legitimacy to expand the operation to protect our people.”
At 3pm the IDF Spokesperson announced: “After six hours of unilateral attacks by Hamas, the IDF has resumed operational activity in the Gaza Strip. Since 9am Tuesday, about 50 rockets were fired at Israel.” The IDF struck at Hamas tunnels, 20 concealed rocket launchers, weapons storage facilities and other operational infrastructure.
The expanding rocket threat
The IDF has targeted terror targets, from the air and the sea. Among the sites targeted: long-range rocket launchers, Hamas leadership facilities, terror and smuggling tunnels, compounds and training sites, communications facilities, and additional sites used for terror activities targeting Israel, including command and control centers.
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Daily distribution of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge