By Ze’ev Ben-Yechiel
Following yesterday’s massive ceasefire violation by Hamas, Israel has responded to a barrage of rocket attacks by striking a number of targets in the Gaza Strip, including an attempt on the life senior Hamas figure. By 10:15 am Israel time today (Wednesday), 80 rockets were fired from Gaza since the first salvo aimed at the city of Be’er Sheva at 3:30 pm yesterday broke six days of quiet between the two sides.
The IDF spokesman told Tazpit that “a total of 97 rockets have been fired at Israel, with 75 landing mostly in open areas.” On Tuesday several, Israeli communities near Gaza sustained damage to buildings. At 8:00 am today, Sapir College, one of the largest in southern Israel, informed students that it was closing temporarily due to the new wave of rockets, while train service between two large southern towns remains suspended.
Hamas opened the latest round of violence hours before the expiration of an extended cease-fire, disrupting advanced negotiations that were approaching a long-term agreement.
Israel retaliated to the attack by eliminating 80 terror targets in Gaza, an IDF spokesman told the Tazpit News Agency. One target of the attacks was the leader of Hamas’ military wing, Mohammed Deif, resulting in the death of his wife and two of his children. A third body from the attack remains unidentified.
The Deif killings prompted a massive salvo of 50 Hamas rockets that peaked around 10:30 pm Tuesday, including hits near Jerusalem as well as southern and central Israel.
The IDF has additionally confirmed that two terrorists involved in rocket fire towards the southern city of Ashkelon were among those targeted.
In the wake of the newest escalation, the IDF also announced on Wednesday that it has recalled 2,000 reservists who were previously scheduled for release.
Tazpit News Agency