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‘Israel has enough targets to keep striking Hamas in Gaza’ – IDF officers

CM 16/05/2021

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As the fighting between the Israeli military and terror groups in the Gaza Strip continues, officers from the IDF’s target bank are working day and night under fire to provide the military with what it needs.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post from southern Israel in between incoming rocket sirens, Maj. T., head of the Surface-to-Surface Rockets and Mortars Department, said his team has been building its target bank for over a year-and-a-half with officers from the Air Force, Military Intelligence and the Artillery Corps. 
In early May, the head of the IDF’s Operations Directorate Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva ordered the IAF to refresh its target bank and to be ready for a deterioration in the security situation in Gaza.
A week later, Hamas fired several rockets toward Jerusalem, leading the IDF to open “Guardian of the Walls,” striking hundreds of targets belonging to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
While the destruction of Hamas’s military infrastructure is the main objective of the IDF’s operations, the military is also striking Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and taking out dozens of military assets belonging to the Iran-backed terror group.
Hamas and PIJ are believed to have a combined arsenal of 14,000 rockets, thousands of short-range and many hundreds that can reach central Israel and beyond.

With the target bank full, the Israeli military is trying to shorten the operation as much as it can as opposed to the 50-day long Operation Protective Edge in 2014. 
“All of this together has brought us to where we are now,” Maj. T. said, explaining that as compared to the 2014 war, the IDF has struck large targets such as high-rise buildings early on rather than waiting until the operation has dragged on to several weeks.
These high-rise buildings have “many terror targets” inside such as weapons, manpower, and more, according to the officer.
But, these high-rises also have civilian apartments and in the case of the Al Jala building which was struck on Saturday- the offices of foreign press.
“We make sure to evacuate all the non-combatants from all the targets, especially the high rises,” he said. 
Military officials have explained that airstrikes against such buildings takes several hours and are not carried out if non-combatants are identified in the area. Nevertheless, of the 177 people killed in Gaza, 47 of them are children and 29 of them are women.
The IDF also destroyed Hamas’ “Metro” tunnel network which stretched thousands of kilometers under residential areas, taking out a “major strategic asset” belonging to the group.
“This was a big event that was different than anything we did before,” Maj. T said. “The tunnels were built under residential buildings. We turned their tunnels into tunnels of death while not hitting any civilians.”
According to him, “Hamas is always trying to work on ways to attack Israel, and we are always working to foil their plans. We have hit a lot of their senior commanders and infrastructure that will bring Hamas dozens of years backwards after this operation is over.”
A week after the fighting began, the target bank under Maj. T’s command remains full. So even after seven days of fighting and hundreds of targets destroyed, “there are enough targets to keep striking, at the same level which we have done so far,” Maj. T said.

“The responsibility for this violence and how the fighting is going is 100% on Hamas,” Maj. T said.  Source: Jerusalem Post

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