More Than 60 Rockets Hit Israel, IDF Tanks Sent Into Gaza
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Date Posted: 2014-03-12 17:13:02
Terrorists in the Gaza Strip have battered towns and villages in southern Israel with at least 60 rockets, hitting several Jewish communities in the largest-scale attack since the 2012 Pillar of Defense counterrorism operation.
The IDF has sent tanks into Gaza over the past several minutes, and have already eliminated two terror targets, in response to the barrage of rocket fire on Israel.
Several were stopped by the Iron Dome; no injuries have been reported. Thousands of Negev residents remain in shelters Wednesday evening, however, until the attacks have subsided.
IDF Radio is reporting that over 60 rockets have landed in Israel so far, after initial reports put the number at closer to 25. Of those, at least five were launched at Sderot; the Iron Dome has stopped some of them from making an impact on Israeli soil, according to the latest updates.
No injuries have been reported.
The Islamic Jihad terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack, in response to IAF airstrikes in Gaza on Tuesday, which killed three Islamic Jihad terrorists. Those airstrikes were themselves a response to an attempted mortar attack on IDF forces by the terrorist squad.
"The Al-Quds Brigades responded to [Israeli] aggression with a volley of rockets," read a statement released by the Iranian-backed group.
At least of one of the communities near Gaza has reported damage from the rocket fire, according to the latest news reports, though it has not been confirmed which one.
Residents are being advised to stay in protective shelters until further updates warrant; the Israeli Police has raised the alert level throughout the Negev in response to the rocket fire.
IAF helicopters are patrolling the skies near Gaza now, as "security forces and the IDF are weighing the appropriate response," according to Walla! News.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reacted to the attack by pledging a "forceful" response against those responsible.
"This seems to be in response to our counterterrorism efforts yesterday," Netanyahu declared, according to Channel 2. "We will continue to strike those who want to harm us, we'll act against them very forcefully." The attack comes a day after the Israeli navy revealed the contents of the Klos C weapons ship, intercepted on its way to Gaza by Israeli commandos.
Evidence seems to suggest the ship was sent by Iran, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told reporters the contents - including nearly 200 mortar shells and dozens of Iranian-made medium-range rockets - underlined how the Islamic Republic was directly aiding Gaza-based terrorists to target Israeli civilians.
The deadly cargo was reported intended primarily for Islamic Jihad.