Israel is on the offensive against “terror targets” with a bombing campaign across the Gaza Strip which the nation’s leaders describe as a forward Iranian base. Some defense analysts believe that the offensive against Gaza and Syria is an Israeli ploy to fast-track war with Iran.
The Israeli military, through an operation dubbed “Pillar of Defense,” embarked on a heavy bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip. Reportedly, attacks on Gaza City carried out by Israeli fighter jets, drones and helicopters resulted in widespread destruction and civilian casualties.
The Israeli strikes on Gaza City targeted and killed Hamas military commander Ahmad Jabari. The Israelis also targeted Raad Atar, another senior Hamas military commander, but he survived the attack, Israeli Ynet reports.
“The purpose of this operation was to severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership, as well as its terrorist infrastructure. This was a surgical operation in cooperation with the Israeli Security Agency, that was implemented on the basis of concrete intelligence and using advanced capabilities,” a statement from the Israeli Defense Force said.
The strike came after four days of reported rocket fire from Gaza terrorist groups on southern regions of Israel. More than 150 rockets are reported to have been fired from Gaza, damaging homes and factories.
Israel called up its military reservists Wednesday in preparation for a ground invasion of Gaza.
A spokesman for Hamas vowed to wage open war with Israel after the attacks against its leaders “opened the gates of hell.” The organization promises suicide and military attacks against Israeli cities.
The Israeli Defense Force has also been keeping an eye on Syria as what military officials call the “painful disintegration” of the Bashar Assad regime has brought Syrian rebels close to Israeli-held territories. Violence near the Israeli-occupied Golan upset the Jewish state, which fired rockets into Syria twice this week after stray Syrian fire hit its side.