Yoav Zitun, Elior Levy: 11.13.18 ,
At least 11 Palestinians were reported killed in a series of wide-scale airstrikes carried out by Israel Air Force (IAF) in response to some 400 rockets fired from Gaza at southern Israel since Monday afternoon, claiming the life of a 40-year-old Palestinian man who was in Ashkelon illegally.
IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manlis said "We are in the midst of a wide-scale process of accumulating more infantry, armored and other forces to the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, and we are mobilizing reserves for Iron Dome operations and the Home Front Command," he said.
“We struck four multi-story buildings that Hamas uses for terror activity. We attacked the buildings in an orderly manner after the inhabitants have been evacuated," he explained."Hamas is behaving as if we have moved on to targeted assassinations, as their men have been in hiding since Monday afternoon," Manelis added.
"Hamas knows very well what we are attacking and what the cost of the confrontation with the IDF is. We will continue to act with full force,” Manelis wrote on Twitter.
IAF strikes in Gaza (Photo: AFP)
The IDF spokesman added that in light of the escalation of hostilities, the evacuation of the Gaza border communities’ residents is something the military is considering, although it is not yet necessary.
In response, the armed wing of Hamas threatened to step up attacks and fire rockets at the southern cities of Ashdod and Be'er Sheva if Israel continues to carry out airstrikes in Gaza.
The spokesperson for Islamic Jihad went as far as to imply the faction will strike the center of the country next.
The IDF said some 150 targets were attacked in the Gaza Strip on Monday evening and overnight Tuesday, including the Gaza City headquarters of Hamas' Al Aqsa TV station. Israel had fired warning shots ahead of the airstrike, prompting the station to halt programming and replace it with a logo. Minutes later, the airstrike flattened the three-story building and the station went black.
IAF destroys building in Gaza (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
"The station broadcasts violent propaganda against the State of Israel and its citizens, as well as operational messaging to militants, which include methods for carrying out attacks against civilians and soldiers and way to obtain weapons," the IDF said.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum condemned the bombing as "a barbaric, brazen aggression." Ten minutes later, the station resumed broadcasts, airing pre-recorded national songs.
Senior Hamas official abroad Izzat al-Rishq said, "We are holding talks with a large number of Islamic Arab countries, as well as with western countries and international organizations to condemn the escalation caused by the Zionists, and to end the ongoing aggression against our people, during which innocent civilians are hurt.
The IAF also hit Hamas's interior security headquarters, which were disguised as the Al-Amal Hotel. The activity conducted in the structure apparently included the planning of terror attacks against Israeli targets. The hotel is located in the heavily populated a-Rimal neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip. Gaza’s health ministry is located nearby.
Another high-quality target attacked was Hamas' military intelligence force for research and development—a high-rise structure located near a school.
In addition, the IAF hit a weapons storage facility in Khan Yunis, a military complex in Zeitoun, and a weapons manufacturing site in Sheik Omdan.
House bombed in Khan Yunis (Photo: AFP)
The Israeli Navy attacked a vessel belonging to the Hamas naval force at the Nuseirat port in the southern Gaza Strip.
These strikes represent an escalation in the IDF's response, as it has resorted to softer targets over the past few months.
The Security Cabinet convened Tuesday to decide on the next steps of fighting against Hamas.
Meanwhile, an IAF aircraft struck a terror cell launching rockets in northern Gaza, during which one Palestinian was killed and another was wounded, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
In addition, two Palestinians breached the security fence at the Karni crossing in northern Gaza. They sabotaged the fence and shortly thereafter returned to the strip.