Despite the desire to have a quick decisive operation for the purpose of restoring calm to the region, it is beginning to look like this could be a prolonged process. Additionally, as mentioned yesterday, the key factor in this whole operation will be the response by the surrounding terror groups (Hezbollah, etc.) and nations (Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, etc.) and of course, the West Bank. In that regard, we have to wonder if or when their passions could become inflamed (Israeli incursion into Gaza?), during the process of this Israeli military action.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday instructed the Israel Defense Forces to “intensify even further” the military operation against Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza. “The IDF is prepared for any option,” he said, stopping short of announcing a ground invasion into the strip.
“Hamas will pay a heavy price for firing at Israeli citizens. The security of Israel’s citizens is first and foremost. Our army is strong, the home front firm and our nation united. This combination is our response to the terrorist organizations that seek to hurt us,” the prime minister said in Beersheba, where he held security deliberations with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Sami Turgeman, the IDF’s southern command chief.
“We are all united in the mission to hit the terrorists and restore calm,” Netanyahu said. “The operation will expand and continue until the rocket fire on our cities stops and quiet returns.”
The prime minister urged the public to continue following the Home Front Command’s instructions; “they save lives,” he said.
Three rockets were launched at Dimona in southern Israel on Wednesday afternoon. The Iron Dome intercepted one rocket before it could land, while two other rockets landed in open areas.
Dimona is the location of Israel's nuclear reactor. There was no indication that rockets damaged any part of the reactor.
Hamas claimed responsibility for the rockets, stating that it had been attempting to hit the nuclear reactor.
Militants from Hamas's Qassam Brigades said they had launched long-range M-75 rockets towards Dimona
Minutes later the Iron Dome intercepted rockets in Ness Tziona , Yavne and Rehovot in central Israel as Gaza terrorists extended the range of their rockets on Operation Protective Edge's second day.
Earlier on Wednesday, two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip were intercepted over the Greater Tel Aviv area.
Operation Protective Edge entered its third day on Thursday. At least 80 rockets were fired into Israel on Wednesday, hitting as far north as Zichron Ya’akov, bringing the total since Monday night to over 200. In the Israeli Air Force’s hundreds of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, at least 53 Palestinians have been killed and around 500 injured, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. (You can find Tuesday’s liveblog here, and Wednesday’s here.)
Hamas fires rockets at Ashkelon; Israeli gunships fire on Gaza
Hamas’s armed wing claims responsibility for firing six rockets at the southern coastal city of Ashkelon. Multiple rockets are reported to have been intercepted.
Meanwhile, Vice News reporter Danny Gold reports that Israeli warships are firing on the port in Gaza City and Palestinian gunmen are returning fire.