Israel’s operations against militants in Gaza entered its second day Wednesday after terrorist groups fired over 150 rockets into Israel, reaching farther into the country than ever before, and Israeli fighter jets and ships bombarded Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets.
Wednesday's strike on the northern Gaza Strip killed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist Abdullah Diyfallah, according to a statement by the IDF. Diyfallah was responsible for rocket fire at Israel, said the statement.
On Tuesday evening, Hamas announced it had fired four M-75 rockets at Jerusalem. Two loud thuds were heard in the center of the Israeli capital shortly after the rocket warning siren went off at 9:56 p.m. Thousands of residents entered bomb shelters, while others remained outside and in cafés. Among those who sought refuge in shelters were a group of visiting Canadian lawmakers who are in Israel at the invitation of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
A fresh round of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip again sent Israelis scurrying for bomb shelters as far as Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning. Hamas claimed responsibility for firing a volley of rockets intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system before hitting Tel Aviv, as other rockets landed throughout central Israel, shutting down main traffic arteries and causing concern for air traffic.
Several missiles were fired towards Ben-Gurion Airport. Tel Aviv's smaller airstrip at Herzliya has been closed due to the threat of rocket fire.
According to Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner, the rocket that struck the coastal town of Hadera, north of Tel Aviv and Netanya, was an M-302, similar to those found on a ship intercepted by the Israeli Navy in March in the Red Sea.
Among the weaponry found on board were 40 rockets of this type with a range of up to nearly 100 miles. Manufactured in Syria and shipped by Iran, the rockets were earmarked for the Gaza strip, according to Israel. Iran has not claimed responsibility for the shipment. “We said back then that this was a game-changer,” Lerner was quoted by the 'Los Angeles Times' as saying.
Although that particular shipment was intercepted, Hamas is believed to have several dozens of these rockets. Some versions of the M-302 have a range of up to 124 miles with a 385-pound warhead. Hamas is also believed to have its own locally manufactured version of this rocket.
Meanwhile, Israel hit 160 targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, including 120 concealed long-range rocket launchers, Hamas facilities and command positions, IDF officials said. The military offensive came as plans were made to deploy a third infantry brigade along the Gaza border and continued drafting of army reservists. The Israeli government has granted the IDF permission to call up to 40,000 reservists to duty.
At least 23 Palestinians have been reported killed and dozens more injured in the latest Israeli offensive dubbed Operation Protective Edge, which began early Tuesday morning. Palestinians reported at least one fatality Wednesday morning in an air strike that targeted a man on a motorcycle in the northern part of the Gaza strip.
On Tuesday evening, the IDF said that it had defeated an effort to attack an army base in southern Israel by “several gunmen armed with grenades” who had approached from the sea. Four of the gunmen had been killed and the IDF was searching for others, and it released some video of the attack to Israeli television.
Israel's Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon announced his recommendation to senior officials that Israel cease the transfer of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened the Security Cabinet on Wednesday morning for discussions.