After an evening of relative quiet, several red alerts were heard across Israel on Wednesday.
The first siren sounded before 6:00 a.m. and the second shortly thereafter. By 6:30 a.m., rockets were launched toward the Gaza border communities, the Shfela region and as far as Beit Shemesh.
Despite IDF strikes on several terror targets in the Gaza Strip overnight and a day of rocket fire on Tuesday, Israelis experienced a quiet night.
“The IDF attacked several underground rocket launchers and elite launching stations, underground terrorist infrastructure and military forces of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization,” an IDF statement explained.
Earlier in the evening, IDF aircraft attacked three terrorist operatives in the northern Gaza Strip after they launched rockets from Gaza into Israel.
On Tuesday, Israel was pounded by close to 200 rockets following the predawn targeted killing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Leader Bahaa Abu Al-Ata at his home in the Gaza Strip. His wife was killed in the assassination, as well.
“We are not interested in an escalation, but we are ready – on the ground, in the air and at sea,” Kochavi said.
The military said that all the airstrikes in the first wave targeted PIJ underground facilities used for storage and manufacturing of weapons and training camps. These sites were critical facilities for the group which invested large sums of money to construct.
The second wave targeted training compounds, including one used by PIJ’s naval commando unit, the shaft of a cross-border attack tunnel and a tunnel digging site.
IDF tanks struck also two outposts and IAF jets also struck several PIJ militants preparing to launch long-range rockets.
Palestinian Wafa news agency said five Palestinians were killed and dozens injured in the retaliatory airstikes.
None of the retaliatory strikes carried out by Israel targeted Hamas, the group the IDF tends to strike following violence from the Strip. Earlier in the day defense officials said that if Islamic Jihad restrained itself and Hamas did not join the rocket fire, Israel would also hold back from escalating and carry out retaliatory strikes against Hamas.
Israel said that it targeted Al-Ata to stop his plans to carry out a series of attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF troops, including preparations for sniper and kidnapping attacks, armed drone attacks, and rocket fire throughout Israel.
“Terrorists think they can hit civilians and hide behind civilians,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “We showed that we can hit the terrorist with minimal damage to civilians. Anyone who thinks they can hit our civilians and get away with it is wrong. If you hit us we will hit you.”
Al-Ata, Kochavi said, was the man “who undermined the quiet in southern Israel” and who “acted in every way to sabotage attempts for calm with Hamas. He was a living ticking bomb, and up until today worked and planned attacks. He was responsible for the majority of attacks that took place over the past year.”
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Source: Jerusalem Post