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May 13, 2021 12:46 pm
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IDF Air and Artillery Forces Strike Hamas Targets as New Wave of Rockets From Gaza Hit South Israel

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

An Israeli firefighting plane extinguishes a fire on a field of wheat after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip landed near homes in Moshav Zohar, Israel May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched a broad assault on Hamas targets using air and artillery forces late Thursday, a day that saw over 300 rockets launched at Israel from terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

“I said that we would exact a very heavy price from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday night in an address, as the IDF began a massive bombardment on targets in Gaza using tanks and artillery. “We are doing so and we will continue to do so with great force. The final word has not been said and this operation will continue as long as necessary in order to restore the calm and security to the State of Israel.”

Sirens wailed over Israeli communities in the country’s south, with the Iron Dome air defense system intercepting many of the missiles and direct hits reported in Ashdod. An 87-year-old Israeli woman, who was severely injured while running to a bomb shelter, died of her wounds near Ashdod, Israeli media reported.

Earlier Thursday, the Israeli army had called up 7,000 reservists as massive rocket barrages continued to hit central and southern Israel, some of them falling in open areas. Dozens of rockets targeted the southern cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, while a direct hit on an apartment building in the central city of Petah Tikva early Thursday morning left several injured from rocket shrapnel and smoke inhalation.

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On Thursday evening, the IDF said that three rockets were fired from Lebanon into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the Galilee, and that no sirens were sounded in keeping with protocol.

Since Hamas began launching the volleys into Israel on Monday, 1,750 rockets have been fired, killing 7 people, injured over 200 and causing severe damage across the country. In response, IDF fighter jets and aircraft have struck over 600 terror targets in the Gaza, including a Hamas terror tunnel located underneath a school and in close proximity to other civilian buildings. The army also struck on Monday a Hamas missile manufacturing site and a post belonging to the militant group’s naval force.

“The Hamas terror organization deliberately places military targets at the heart of densely populated civilian areas in the Gaza Strip. The IDF takes all possible precautions to avoid harming civilians during its operational activities,” the IDF stated.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said that 87 people have been killed since Monday, with 530 injured.

IDF fighter jets struck the apartment of Hamas drone chief Samer Abu-Daka, which was used for military planning and operation of the terror organization’s UAV array. This comes after terror group launched so-called suicide drones toward Israel earlier on Wednesday. In addition, the Israeli army reported that it hit a long-range rocket launching post of the Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip.

Other strategic targets were struck, including a number of Hamas internal security buildings used for counterintelligence, the office of the Head of Hamas internal security, as well as several branches of the Hamas main bank in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF said it struck four apartments used for military planning and operations of attacks by senior Hamas commanders. One apartment belonged to the deputy commander of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades of the Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip.

Overnight the IDF struck terror infrastructure in the residence of Iyad Tayeb, the commander of the Hamas “Central Camps” battalion. Furthermore, the Israeli army neutralized a number of terrorists belonging to the Hamas naval force, and destroyed two rocket launch sites which were aimed at Israel and its civilians.

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