VIDEOS, PHOTOS: IDF Ready for ‘Week of Operations’ as Rockets Rain Down on Israel From Gaza
The Israeli military announced Operation Breaking Dawn on Friday, launching airstrikes on dozens of Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip. Aside from destroying PIJ infrastructure, such as weapons storage sites and a rocket launcher, Israel also eliminated an Islamic Jihad commander.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are ready for a “week of operations,” as over 160 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since Friday when the Israeli military kicked off Operation Breaking Dawn in the Palestinian enclave.
According to the IDF, the Iron Dome missile defense system has shown a 95 percent success rate at intercepting the projectiles launched towards Israeli cities by Gaza-based militants. Military spokesperson Ran Kochav told reporters that around 30 of the rockets launched from Gaza failed to reach Israel and landed within the strip.
A picture taken on August 5, 2022, shows Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza City in retaliation to earlier Israeli air strikes.
The IDF stressed that there are currently no negotiations underway to bring an end to the violence.
On Friday evening, Prime Minister Yair Lapid insisted that Israel was not interested in a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip, albeit it “is not afraid of it either.” Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has authorizedthe call-up of 25,000 reservists, signaling preparedness for a full-scale escalation.
“The goal of this operation is the elimination of a concrete threat against the citizens of Israel and the civilians living adjacent to the Gaza Strip, as well as the targeting of terrorists and their sponsors,” Lapid and Gantz said in a joint statement.
“The Israeli government will not allow terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip to set the agenda in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and threaten the citizens of the State of Israel. Anyone who tries to harm Israel should know: We will find you,” Lapid said.
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Israeli Air Force jets, armed drones, helicopters, and tanks have carried out over 40 strikes, hitting dozens of targets in Gaza, including bases, weapons storage sites, a rocket launcher, buildings used by operatives, observation posts, and more.
Israeli strikes have killed at least nine people, including a five-year-old girl, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
The fighting began with Israel targeting a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander, Tayseer Jabari, who was confirmed dead by the group.
“Tayseer Jabari is not the final target in Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Kochav said, as exchange of fire continued throughout the night.
Israel’s military said its Friday air strikes in Gaza killed an estimated 15 enemy combatants, while on Saturday morning, Israeli forces arrested 19 operatives “associated” with the PIJ during a West Bank raid.
Israel is said to have warned Hamas, a militant group which governs the strip, not to get involved in the fighting.
Hamas, for its part, has already issued a statement saying that it was holding Israel responsible for the escalation, adding that Israel has “committed a new crime for which it must pay the price.”
Hamas has fought four wars with Israel since taking control of Gaza in 2007, including a May 2021 conflict. Islamic Jihad is a separate group, aligned with Hamas, but it also acts independently.
The operation comes four days after Israel closed two border crossings with Gaza and restricted the movement of Israeli civilians living near the border, citing security concerns. The closures followed the arrest of two senior PIJ members in the West Bank. Islamic Jihad vowed to take revenge, prompting the Israeli military to raise the alert along the border.