Operation Cast Lead
CUFI Coffee Break
After three years of sustained rocket fire from Gaza, Israel’s people could take no more. The IDF entered Gaza on December 27, 2008. Israel’s objective during the operation was to stop the smuggling of weapons into Gaza and to stop indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel.
First, Israel initiated air strikes, striking 100 targets within 220 seconds. Hamas’s headquarters, terrorists’ houses, and rocket launcher and missile stockpiles were targeted. Approximately 140 terrorists were killed on the first day.
Hindered by Gaza’s population density and the fact that Hamas terrorists hid among the civilians, the IDF faced a huge challenge. Hamas launched many of its rockets from schools, mosques, hospitals, and buildings owned by the United Nations. When Israel retaliated, the international media focused on stories about Israel bombing schools instead of blaming the terrorists for using human shields.
To save as many innocent lives as possible, Israel voluntarily gave up the strategic advantage of surprise. The IDF sent voicemail messages in Arabic to thousands of Gazan residents before sending in an airstrike. This gave civilians time to evacuate, but also warned the terrorists to escape. 22 days later, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire. Rockets continue to be launched into Israel by Hamas to this day.
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