|Report by CFI
In a significant escalation of violence, over 300 rockets have been fired towards Israeli cities including Tel Aviv by terrorists in the Gaza Strip today (Wednesday 10th May). 56 rockets fell short in Gaza and 60 were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system. Flights were briefly stopped from landing at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport during a barrage of rockets from Gaza.A house in the southern Israeli city of Sderot suffered a direct hit, though no injuries were reported, as well as in Netivot. One rocket landed on the roof of a kindergarten. Eight Israelis have been injured running towards bomb shelters. The David’s Sling air defence system was used to intercept one of the projectiles, marking the first successful interception made by the system. It is capable of intercepting rockets and missiles at a range of 40-300 kilometres. Yesterday (Tuesday 9th May), the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched ‘Operation Shield and Arrow’, targeting three senior leaders of the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group in Gaza who were killed in coordinated airstrikes as well as attacking military compounds and sites used to produce weapons. The three leaders were believed to be directly responsible for planning recent and future terror attacks including rocket launches towards Israel. The IDF said it had killed Khalil Bahtini, the commander of PIJ in northern Gaza; Jihad Ghanem, a senior official in PIJ’s military council; and Tareq Izz ed-Din, who directed PIJ’s terror activities in the West Bank from a base in Gaza. Izz ed-Din had reportedly operated 20 terror cells in the West Bank, with Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar confirming that Israeli forces recently foiled a cell in the West Bank city of Jenin under Izz ed-Din’s control that was planning to fire rockets at Israel. The IDF also said it had killed two members of a PIJ cell who were on their way to carry out a guided missile attack. Another PIJ rocket crew was targeted at a Gaza launch site today, with one operative reportedly killed. A PIJ spokesperson said that the group “will stand by our commitment to the martyrs, and we will confront the enemy’s aggression with firmness and courage. This crime will end in the defeat of the enemy”. The Joint Operations Room of Gaza-based terror factions including PIJ and Hamas said Israel will “pay the price” for the attacks. Today, in response to ongoing rocket attacks, the IDF carried out strikes against PIJ rocket launching sites and targets in the Gaza Strip with a reported 40 rocket launchers and mortars destroyed. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza has said that 19 Palestinians have been killed in airstrikes. Egypt is reportedly working to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and PIJ. More than 100 rockets were fired towards Israel in a 24-hour period last week (2-3rd May), with the IDF striking terror targets in response. The rocket fire came after the death of prominent PIJ member, Khader Adnan, who had been on hunger strike in an Israeli prison for the past three months, refusing medical assistance.