image Facing both the usual external front and a shocking internal one. Photo: Flash90

Gaza barrage draws fierce IDF retaliation

The Israeli Defense Forces has launched some 190 precision strikes on Hamas military targets in response to the ongoing missile barrage from Gaza on Israel.

The sites include attack tunnels, terrorist and the home of a Hamas battalion commander.

The Islamist rulers of the Palestinian enclave have deliberately embedded their armed operations in populated areas behind a human shield of civilians.

Local sources have reported the deaths of 20 people in the strikes.

According to the IDF, many of the casualties have been caused by the terrorists themselves, with about a third of the Palestinian rockets falling short. Among the dead are 7 members of a family including 3 children in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, who are believed to be victims of an explosion caused by such a Palestinian mis-fire.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the mobilization of 5,000 IDF reserve soldiers for active duty. According to a Defense Ministry statement, “the call-up is designed to expand operational activity in the current IDF campaign and deepen homefront defense,” and the reservist units will be deployed to the the Homefront Command, the Operations Directorate within the IDF General Staff, Southern Command and other divisions.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj. Gen. Rassan Alian announced the immediate closure of the Kerem Shalom Commercial Crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip until further notice. The decision came following a series of security assessments.

This, after the earlier COGAT closures of the Erez Crossing to all movement barring humanitarian and exceptional cases yesterday and the Gaza fishing zone on Sunday. Both measures were enacted in response to escalating rocket fire and the continued launching of incendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip toward the State of Israel, which COGAT stated “constitute a violation of the Israeli sovereignty.”

After Palestinian arson attacks destroyed scores of agricultural fields and forest land in over 40 blazes on Sunday, IDF tanks struck Hamas military posts in the Gaza Strip.

According to a statement TV7 obtained from the COGAT Spokesperson’s Unit, Maj. Gen. Alian stressed that, “The terrorist organization Hamas is held accountable for all that is done in and from the Gaza Strip toward the State of Israel, and it will therefore bear the consequences for the violence committed against the country’s citizens.”

In related developments, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi decided to cancel the slated “Chariots of Fire” military exercise due to the dramatic escalation of ongoing violence with Gaza.