Three Israelis were killed last night as two infants and one young boy were critically injured, while Hamas missiles targeted civilian towns in southern Israel.
The deaths were the first on the Israeli side for Operation Pillar of Defense, a mission launched yesterday by the Jewish state to combat incessant attacks from the Gaza Strip.
Nearly 250 rockets have been sent from Hamas in the last 24 hours. The Iron Dome missile defense system has been able to intercept 80, though 196 made landfall in Israel. A rocket hit a building in Kiryat Malachi, leading to three deaths as residents were unable to find covering in due time.
Aharon Smadga, 49, Itzik Amsalem, 24, and Mirah Sharf, a 26-year-old who was reportedly pregnant, will all be buried today. The three injured children are currently receiving emergency care and are listed in critical condition.
Emergency workers are still cleaning up wreckage as missiles continue to fall on both sides.
In Gaza, a funeral was held for Ahmed Jabari, the Hamas military head killed by IDF yesterday. Jabari was a sought war criminal and one of Israel’s most wanted terrorists. His death generated immediate rocket launches from Gaza, where the IDF has instigated targeted strikes on some of Hamas’ most dangerous missile facilities.
Today, the IDF promised continued targets on top Hamas officials, in an effort to decimate the deadly terror group. Reported casualties in Gaza range from eight to 13.
The Israeli military received the go ahead late last night to send in reservists to expand the operation, as a rumored plan to instigate a ground operation began to circulate. As of now, the Israeli Air Force and Navy are both involved in the action.
Planes dropped thousands of leaflets over Gaza early this morning, urging Palestinians to stay in safe zones and avoid known Hamas outlets. The IDF press office is publishing a near constant stream of video and live updates, in what is arguably a preemptive bid against international criticism. As such, information is already being disseminated on Hamas’ utilization of human shields and launch sites built near civilian schools and mosques. The technique is typically used as an effort to increase civilian casualties and paint Israel in the most aggressive light possible on the global stage.
Meanwhile, Hamas press today issued incorrect news stories to residents in Gaza, telling citizens the military wing had successfully hit Tel Aviv twice overnight. Hamas has pledged to attack the metropolis, with the Israeli government promising tough retaliation if the economic capital is hit.
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