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IDF destroys major Hamas assets, as rocket barrage challenges air defenses

The Israeli Air Force struck 160 Hamas assets and Islamic Jihad targets, ‎including “four unique strategic ‎assets,” says IDF • Hamas TV station, intelligence and internal security headquarters leveled • IDF: Air defenses cannot offer hermetic protection.

Israeli soldiers rest close to Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel, near the border with Gaza. An Israeli army officer and seven Palestinians, including a local Hamas commander, were killed following an incursion by Israeli special forces into the Gaza Strip. Nov. 12, 2018. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.
Israeli soldiers rest close to Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel, near the border with Gaza. An Israeli army officer and seven Palestinians, including a local Hamas commander, were killed following an incursion by Israeli special forces into the Gaza Strip. Nov. 12, 2018. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.

The IDF released data on Tuesday on the scope ‎of its strikes on the Gaza Strip over the previous two ‎days, as a fragile truce brokered between Israel and ‎Hamas came into force. ‎

In the worst flare-up in the area since ‎‎2014, Gaza terrorists fired hundreds of rockets and mortar ‎shells on Israeli communities near the border ‎over Monday night and Tuesday morning, killing one person and wounding ‎‎55.

The IDF said more than 450 projectiles were ‎fired from ‎Gaza in under 36 hours, 100 of which were ‎‎intercepted by the Iron Dome missile-defense system, while more than ‎‎200 landed in open areas, ‎‎30 hit urban areas in ‎southern Israel, and the rest hit on the ‎Gazan side of ‎the border. ‎

The Israeli Air Force struck 160 Hamas assets and ‎more than a dozen Islamic Jihad targets ‎in Gaza, ‎including what it called “four unique strategic ‎assets.” ‎

One of the targets destroyed was Hamas’s ‎Al-Aqsa TV headquarters in Gaza City. Other high-‎value targets included Hamas’s intelligence ‎headquarters, its internal ‎security building, a research and development ‎center and several weapon arsenals.‎

The IDF stressed that to limit casualties in ‎non-military sites, Israel employed a ‎practice often referred to as a “knock on the roof,” ‎in which small projectiles are dropped on rooftops to inform ‎occupants that an airstrike is imminent and give ‎them a chance to evacuate.‎

A defense official said the targets “have ‎great importance for Hamas, both practically and ‎psychologically.”

‎“We are planning our next steps, with the ‎understanding that the situation can calm down or ‎flare up rapidly,” the official said. ‎

‎“The IAF is prepared to act according to the orders ‎we receive. These are surgical and aggressive ‎strikes. When you look at the result, the price ‎exacted [from Hamas] is very high.”

IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis ‎admitted Tuesday that the massive rocket ‎barrage had posed a challenge to the Iron Dome missile-defense ‎system.‎

Stressing that air defenses cannot provide “hermetic ‎defense,” said Manelis. “The way rockets are fired at ‎certain cities creates a challenge for our air ‎defenses. … The homefront’s defense concept is ‎based not only on Iron Dome, but also on the Homefront Command’s guidelines for civilians.” ‎

He said Iron Dome’s interception rate ‎is nearly 90 percent, and the system is programmed to ‎counter only projectiles likely to hit ‎populated areas.‎

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said Tuesday that the ‎Israeli Navy had destroyed several Hamas vessels “used ‎to carry out maritime terrorist attacks against ‎Israeli forces and civilians.” ‎

Also on Tuesday, the Islamic Jihad revealed on its ‎website the mid-range missile it said it used ‎to hit a house in Ashkelon.‎

The terrorist group claimed that this was the first ‎time it had used this missile, but offered no other details.

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