Wave upon wave of Palestinian missiles were aimed at Israeli communities from Gaza on Friday night and Saturday morning, Oct. 26-27, gaining impetus from IDF air strikes at some 87 Hamas targets. The IDF spokesman spoke of 30 Palestinian missiles during the night, although the number was more than 50, of which Iron Dome intercepted 13 that directly threatened residential areas. This Palestinian assault focused on the town of Sderot and the Shear Hanegev Council communities rather than widely-spaced targets.
The IDF reported Saturday that IAF fighters hit the new Hamas General Security headquarters in the Derej district of Gaza City although they admitted the building was empty at the time of the attack. In the streets of Sderot meanwhile householders and their children huddled in shelters and fortified rooms after a day of listening to howling mobs of some 16,000 Palestinians close by, trying to force their way through the Gaza fence at three points, while hurling small bombs, grenades and rocks at the soldiers. Five rioters were killed and dozens injured by IDF gunfire before they were pushed back.
But Palestinian missile fire continued unabated into Saturday morning. The latest IDF bulletin held Syria and the Iranian al-Qods responsible for the Palestinian barrage of Friday night and Saturday morning. This onslaught powerfully debunked the reports of an Israeli-Hamas deal, brokered by Egypt, for the Palestinian terrorists to gradually de-escalate the border outbreaks, provided Israel held back and gave Hamas time for the process.
It also served as a greeting card from Hamas and Islamic Jihad to Israel’s next military chief of staff, whom Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman named on Friday as Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, 54. Kochavi is currently deputy chief of staff to Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkot, after spending three years as OC Northern Command. He served in many key combat and staff capacities during his military career, although evaluations of his capabilities are mixed.
As for the incoming chief of staff, Kochavi’s critics evaluate his performance as OC Northern command in charge of the Syrian and Lebanese border areas as falling short of his earlier operational and innovative promise. The question now is: Will Kochavi rise above Israel’s long conceptual paralysis with regard to Gaza and resort to action for stopping the increasingly unbridled Palestinian violence? This weekend, the terrorists of Gaza threw down another gauntlet for the IDF, clearly a challenge for Gen. Kochavi to see if he will finally make good on his 13-year oath of a “crushing response”