After Mauling Hamas From the Air, IDF to 'Deepen the Damage'
The IDF Spokesman's Unit said Thursday that the IDF has struck about 60 terror targets in Gaza since the morning hours, on Day 3 of Operation Protective Edge, and that it intends to "deepen the damage" to Hamas.
All in all, about 800 terror targets have been hit since the operation began on Monday night.
Among the targets attacked were leadership offices, homes of senior Hamas officers, tunnels, buried launchers, communication infrastructure, military outposts and weapons stores.
The IDF Navy attacked several coastal targets. These attacks included the firing of dozens of shells by the Missile Ship Reconnaissance Unit at Hamas weapons stores and military outposts.
In addition, the IDF and Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet), attacked the homes of senior terrorists that served as command and control infrastructures for the Hamas organization.
Among the homes attacked were those of:
Oubal Jandiya – Deputy Commander of Hamas forces in Sejaeeya, born 1978. Forces under his command fired at IDF forces. Jandiya also participated in fighting in 2012's Operation Pillar of Defense.
Arafat Abu Abdullah – Commander of Islamic Jihad forces in central Gaza camps, born 1989. Abu Abadullah is responsible for all Islamic Jihad terror activity from this region, and has directed rocket fire against Israel during the latest escalation.
Mahdi Kuware – senior Hamas operative in Khan Younis.
Nassim Abu Ajinah – senior Hamas commander in Bayt Lahiya region, born 1984. Responsible for growth of terror forces in his region and for much of Gaza's extensive tunnels system, used to smuggle weapons and hide rocket positions.
Shadi Saleh Rajeb – senior Hamas operative in Bayt Lahiya, born 1983. Resposible for rocket fire against Israel.
"The IDF is determined and will continue to systematically attack targets until meaningful damage is caused to the Hamas terror organization, and will take action to destroy the terror infrastructures that operate against the citizens of Israel," the military said in a statement Thursday.
"The IDF has inflicted serious damage to Hamas, its infrastructures and all elements using terror against the state of Israel and its citizens, and will deepen this damage."
Precisely how the IDF seeks to "deepen the damage" is becoming increasingly clearer, as preparations for a ground incursion appear to be underway.
The IDF on Thursday afternoon contacted by phone Arab residents of Gaza living near the security border, warning them to evacuate their homes immediately. The phone calls were made to a total of roughly 100,000 Arab residents of the Hamas stronghold. The phone warnings indicate that the operation may be moving into a new stage and entering a ground offensive.