Israel Conducts Special Ops Mission Into Gaza As Tel Aviv Sustains Major Rocket Barrage
TEL AVIV-- Israeli Navy special operations troops went into Gaza for the first time during Operation Protective Edge, raiding a facility responsible for storing Hamas’s more sophisticated long-range rockets. The operation was In response to a heavy rocket barrage that occurred over Tel Aviv on Saturday night at 9pm local time.
The IDF said of the raid, “the facility was hit and damaged.” Four IDF soldiers sustained injuries in the operation. According to the IDF, “The mission was accomplished.”
Hamas warned on Palestinian television around 8pm Saturday that they intended to attack the city of Tel Aviv at 9pm. At approximately 9:07, they terrorist jihadis fired what they said were long-range J-80 rockets at Tel Aviv. Hamas claimed the J-80 was a “new kind of rocket” that had a range of 50 miles. Hamas unsuccessfully tried to overwhelm the Iron Dome short-range missile defense system, as their 7 or so rockets fired at Tel Aviv all at the same time were successfully intercepted by the Iron Dome battery.
Additionally, the second instance of rockets being fired from southern Lebanon into Israel occurred Saturday night. Sirens were heard in the northern Israeli towns of Nahariya and Shlomi. The IDF responded by attacking the launch locations with artillery shells.
According to IDF Major General Amos Gilad, Hezbollah is not the primary suspect, but instead possibly a Palestinian radical group within Lebanon.
Contrastingly, Hamas official, said that they are working with Hezbollah and “exchanging expertise” on Israel. The terror group official said, “The relationship with Hezbollah and Iran today is better than everyone thinks, and ties with Hezbollah is by far better than what [enemy] wants to believe.”
Since Monday Night, Hamas has fired around 800 rockets at Israel. 582 of those rockets have hit Israeli territory, and 150 were intercepted by the Iron Dome. The Israeli Air Force has now carried out bombings on more than 1,300 Hamas targets, and there are no indications of the IAF slowing down.
Early Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to “continue operating in Gaza forcefully in order to restore quiet.” He continued, “ We don’t know when the operation will end; it might take a long time.”
At 12:30pm Sunday, a rocket exploded in Ashkelon, Israel, severely wounding a 16-year-old boy.
Israel continues to warn Gaza residents to leave the Strip’s north. Some suggest this is due to Israel strongly considering commencing a full-scale ground operation into Gaza. According to Haaretz, witnesses at the border are seeing many families leaving the cities of Beit Lahia and Beit Hanun in Gaza and are seeking shelter at a UN Palestinian refugee facility.
Israel National News has reported that Egypt is working as an intermediary to try and broker a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, but have thus far had no success. According to Walla! News, there was a 40-hour ceasefire offer on the table in which Israel accepted, but it was ultimately rejected by Hamas.