The IDF has admitted that it failed to eliminate a leading Hamas commander Thursday, who was responsible for the Islamist group's rocket arsenal, reported Channel 2.
Initially, the IDF said the man, Ayman Siam, was killed inside a car that was targeted by the IDF. Ayman Siam would have been the most senior terrorist figure killed by Israel since Operation Defensive Edge began three days ago.
But Hamas's "military wing" Ezzadine al-Kassam, denied the report and said he was not inside the car that was targeted. "He is continuing in his acts of jihad. We call on the media to be precise and not to rely on Israel's lies." The IDF later took back its claim that Siam was killed.
A short time after this strike, three Islamic Jihad terrorists were killed: Mahmoud Walud, Hazem Balusha and Alaa Abd-el Nabi. Abd-el Nabi was a senior figure in the rocket array in norethern Gaza.
Israel continued to batter Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups Thursday in a bid to stamp out rocket fire against Israeli civilians.
An IDF statement said that on Thursday morning alone 70 "terror targets" were struck by the air force, bringing the total number of targets hit to over 800 - more than double the number hit by the IAF in 2012 six-day Pillar of Defense operation.
Among the targets were administrative buildings belonging to terrorist groups, smuggling tunnels, concealed rocket launchers, propaganda outlets and the homes of terrorist leaders.
Although most strikes were performed by the IAF, the Israeli navy has also played an active role, succeeded in destroying several Hamas weapons stores and military positions.
Although Hamas's leadership has gone into hiding since the start of the operation, the IDF has upped the pressure on them by destroying their homes.
In addition, three senior Islamic Jihad terrorists were killed in an IDF strike on their car this morning.
More to follow.