Follow here forÂ The Algemeiner’s continued live updates on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Our report on the launch of Israel’s Operation Defensive Edge can be found here. For a report on Israel’s targeting of a top Hamas commander click here. For details on the rocket attacks that led to Israel’s operation click here. For more information please check ourÂ homepage.
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7:25 am — Overnight Israeli planes targeted 50 terror related targets in Gaza in the first salvo of the operation. The IDF said in a statement:
In combined efforts of both aerial and naval forces, the IDF targeted overnight approximately 50 terror sites and targets across the Gaza Strip, commencing operation ‘Protective Edge’ — aimed to retrieve stability to the residents of southern Israel, eliminate Hamas’ capabilities and destroy terror infrastructure operating against the State of Israel and its civilians.
Among the targets are 4 activity sites utilized by Hamas operatives who are responsible for numerous rocket attacks and were involved in various terror activities against the State of Israel.
The activity sitesÂ that were targeted were utilized by the following operatives:
- Ei’ad Sakik,Â aÂ Hamas terrorists in Gaza, involved in rocket terrorism against the State of Israel.
- Abdullah Hshash,Â a Hamas terrorist in Rafah, involved in rocket terrorism against the State of Israel during the pastÂ few weeks and in the past as well.
- Samer Abu Daka,Â aÂ Hamas terrorist in Khan Yunis, involvedÂ in terrorist activity against the State of Israel.
- Hassan Abdullah,Â a Hamas terrorist in Khan Yunis, involved in rocket terrorism against the State of Israel during the past few weeks.
The IDF targeted dozens of terror sites across the Gaza Strip, including concealed rocket launchers, launching infrastructures,Â a weapon storage facility,training bases, terror tunnels’ shafts and further targets.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, IDF Spokesman:Â ”In the past weeks, residents of southern Israel were forced into an unbearable reality — a situation they haven’t encountered in these scales since November 2012. In light of these circumstances, the IDF commenced operation ‘Protective Edge’. We are determined to lay a significant blow on Hamas’ terror capabilities and infrastructure, eliminate any threat on Israeli sovereignty emanating from the Gaza Strip and restore stability to theÂ southern region. Terrorists perpetrating the aggression against Israel have a personal price to pay and will bear the consequences of their actions.”
PREAMBLE: 6:52 am: Early in the morning Israel launched Operation Defensive Edge aimed at stopping “the constant terror activity that Hamas is aiming at Israeli civilians.” The major Gaza initiative comes in response to a significant increase in rocket attacks against Israeli targets over the past weeks.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, more than 30 rockets were fired in a major escalation on Monday evening which struckÂ major cities Ashdod and Ashkelon. Four rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome Â missile defense system and 16 landed in open areas near Beersheba. According to Israeli media reports, more that 7o projectiles were fired at Israel.
“Since the beginning of the year,Â #Gaza terrorists have fired more then 450 rockets at#Israeli civiliansÂ #ItMustStop,” the IDF tweeted.