IDF hits back after Gazan missile barrages strike South
The IDF struck dozens of targets belonging to Islamic Jihad and Hamas across the length of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, after several mortar and rocket barrages were fired at Israeli communities.
In a major escalation, Islamic Jihad launched close to 100 projectiles at towns near the Gaza border; two exploded in towns in the Eshkol region, including one that hit the yard of a kindergarten shortly before the children were due to arrive.
Three soldiers and several civilians were wounded by the Gazan salvos and evacuated to a hospital. One soldier was moderately wounded in his legs, while the other two sustained light injuries, the army said.
Earlier in the day, a man was lightly wounded in the head by mortar-shell fragments. Another man in Sderot suffered bruises while running for shelter, and another two suffered from shock. One Israeli was lightly wounded by the morning mortar barrage and was taken to Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba in light condition with a shrapnel wound to his hand.
At least 25 mortars from the barrages launched in the morning were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile-defense system, the IDF said. Several others struck open areas.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad took joint responsibility for the attacks.
One of the rockets hit infrastructure supplying electricity to the Strip. Three power lines that supply the southern Gaza Strip were put out of commission.
The Israel Electricity Corporation said it would take several days to repair the equipment for a regular supply of electricity.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz instructed the IEC not to put its employees in danger and to repair the damage only after the terrorists stop attacking.
“This is a serious, dangerous and planned terrorist attack against civilians and children,”IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said. “Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization is a terrorist organization that is based on Iranian ideology and funding, and today it used Iranian-made weapons.”
Among the 35 targets struck by the IDF was a Hamas tunnel that stretched from Rafah one kilometer into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and then 900 meters into Israel near the Kerem Shalom crossing.
According to Manelis, it was the 10th tunnel destroyed by Israel since October. It was not ready for use, but the terrorists planned to use it both for attacks and to smuggle weapons, he said.
Other targets hit included seven military compounds, weapons storage sites, naval targets and terrorist headquarters.
“The IDF views the attack this morning harshly and holds Hamas responsible for everything happening in and out of Gaza,” Manelis said. “The IDF will not allow harm to the security of the citizens of Israel or to its sovereignty and will continue to act resolutely against terrorism of any kind.”
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