Clock Running Out: Israel Targets Gaza Terror Leadership and Tunnels As International Pressure For Ceasefire Mounts
“Overnight Monday, the IDF conducted a third round of strikes against the Hamas ‘Metro’ tunnel system” but international pressure to stop the fighting may mean Israel is unable to reach all targets.
As relentless rocket attacks against Israeli towns and cities enter the second week, the Israeli military is targeting high-profile terrorist operatives of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad inside Gaza.
The overnight Israeli airstrikes, which continued until early morning Monday, destroyed tunnels networks, rocket launcher sites and terrorist command posts across Gaza; as well as the homes of at least 9 top Hamas commanders which doubled as terrorist bases and weapons depots, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad have fired 3,100 rockets from Gaza in the past 7 days. That's the highest daily rate of rocket fire that Israel has faced in the history of the country.
The threat is real. Millions of Israelis are living under fire. We will continue to defend ourselves.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 16, 2021
High-Profile Islamic Jihad commander eliminated
The IDF eliminated senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander, Hassam Abu Harbid. The slain jihadi had command “over the northern Gaza Strip brigade of the terror organization and was behind the launching of rockets and anti-tank guided missiles towards Israel,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
The Israeli news outlet Ynet News reported the killing of the top PIJ commander:
The Israel Defense Forces on Monday morning said it assassinated a senior Islamic Jihad commander in the Gaza Strip as rockets rained on Israeli communities for the seventh day in a row.
The target of the operation appears to be Hossam Abu Harbid, commander of the Islamic Jihad’s northern brigade. He took the position in late 2019 after his predecessor, Bahaa Abu el-Atta, was also assassinated by Israeli military.
Palestinian reports also said the IDF attacked a car in the western part of Gaza City and at least three people were killed in the incident. The identities of the victims is still unknown.
Meanwhile, Hamas fired rocket barrages at southern Israeli cities overnight and Monday morning while Israel struck a host of terror targets, including an unusually long underground attack tunnel, as fighting spilled into a second week on Monday.
Despite mounting international calls for a ceasefire, there was no sign of any imminent end to the most serious hostilities in years between Israel and the terror group who rules the densely-populated enclave, where 2 million Palestinians live.
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) May 16, 2021
On Monday, the Associated Press confirmed the increased intensity of the overnight Israeli anti-terror strikes: “Explosions rocked the [Gaza] city from north to south for 10 minutes in an attack that was heavier, on a wider area and lasted longer than a series of air raids 24 hours earlier.”
The Jerusalem Post reported details of the overnight strike:
Overnight Monday, the IDF conducted a third round of strikes against the Hamas ‘Metro’ tunnel system in northern Gaza, an underground network of tunnels which Hamas used to store its weapons and to move throughout the Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson said.
As part of the strike, approximately 35 terror targets and 15 kilometers of the tunnel system were struck by 54 IDF fighter jets. This strike is part of the IDF’s significant operation against the underground terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.
During the overnight campaign, the IDF targeted the houses of nine Hamas operatives. Some of the targets served as Hamas infrastructure, while others contained weapons depots, the IDF added.
Among the residences that were targeted were the houses of the Beit Hanun battalion commander, the Beit Hanun company commander, the house of a Gaza City company commander and the house of a Shati Battalion commander in Hamas.
Despite the slanderous claims of anti-Israel individuals, the IDF is going above and beyond to minimize civilian casualties. Watch this footage of how they called off a strike today due to the presence of civilians pic.twitter.com/fUN0Z4wuvo
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) May 16, 2021
IDF takes out Hamas intel center
On Sunday night, an Israeli airstrike destroyed a Hamas intelligence center in Gaza. This is the second major target belonging the terrorist group’s spying and reconnaissance operation. Two days earlier, the Israeli air force hit the 12-story “al-Jalaa” building. The compound, which served as a base for Hamas’s military intelligence for years, also housed the Gaza offices of the Associated Press and al Jazeera, the IDF disclosed. The media outlet claimed to having no knowledge of living next door to jihadi terrorists.
The journalists and the building’s residents, including the Hamas terrorists, were informed of the hit in advanced, and had enough time to evacuate.
While President Biden and senior Democrats criticized the Saturday’s air strike on the Hamas-infested “media tower.” The Israeli military defended the operation against a legitimate terrorist target. “A building that has Hamas and Islamic Jihad assets in it needs to be brought down,” IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said on Sunday.
Israeli TV channel i24News reported the strike on the Hamas intel center:
The Israeli army’s cyber unit, intelligence and air force attacked a Hamas intelligence center, according to a statement early Monday.
A video attached to a tweet the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson’s unit posted showed a massive explosion in the complex during the strike, timestamped to Sunday.
The clip of the Hamas intel center strike released by the IDF:
במאמץ משותף של אגף התקשוב וההגנה בסייבר, אגף המודיעין וחיל האוויר, הותקף מתחם של המודיעין הצבאי של ארגון הטרור חמאס pic.twitter.com/FsQ7uIgMrx
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) May 16, 2021
Israeli civilians under Hamas Fire
The Israeli counterstrike come as hundreds of rockets from Gaza rain down on Israeli civilians everyday. According to the IDF, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired 3,100 rockets in past 7 days, killing ten people and injuring hundreds.
The Times of Israel reported terror rocket attacks over the weekend:
Palestinian terror groups fired over 130 rockets toward Israel from the Gaza Strip from Saturday night to Sunday morning, the military says, with dozens of the incoming projectiles being intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, roughly 120 rockets were fired into Israeli territory during that time, while 11 failed to clear the border and landed within the Gaza Strip.
Roughly half of the projectiles — 55 — were fired at Israel in a massive barrage aimed at central and southern Israel around midnight Saturday, which caused neither injury nor significant damage, according to Israeli authorities.
UN, China press for ceasefire
The UN Security Council, where Communist China currently holds the rotating “presidency”, met virtually on Sunday to debate the ongoing hostilities. The Biden administration had objected to the meeting.
China called for an “immediate ceasefire and resumption of dialogue on two-state solution.” Beijing also offered to host “Israeli-Palestinian peace talks,” the South China Morning Post reported.
China positioned itself as the champion of Arabs and Muslims. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused the U.S. of being “indifferent to the suffering of the Palestinian people.”
IDF defends strike on Hamas ‘media’ building
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