A senior army official warned Thursday morning that Israel was nearing a full-blown military confrontation in the Gaza Strip after hundreds of rockets were launched overnight by Palestinian terror groups, adding that the government could begin evacuating communities near the coastal enclave in preparation.
“We are rapidly nearing a confrontation,” the IDF senior officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Hamas is making serious mistakes, and we may have to make it clear after four years that this path doesn’t yield any results for it and isn’t worth it.”
Authorities said over 150 rockets and mortar shells were launched at Israeli communities since Wednesday evening. The barrages by the Hamas terror group continued throughout the night and into Thursday.
According to IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, at least seven people in total were injured in southern Israel by the Gaza rocket attacks, including a woman who was seriously injured when a projectile struck her home in the Eshkol region of southern Israel.
In response to the attacks, the Israeli army said, it struck over 140 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight.
The military said its raids targeted training compounds as well as weapons-manufacturing facilities and storage warehouses. The air force also targeted sites from which rockets were being launched, including a car that the army said was being used by a cell of terrorists. One Hamas operative was reportedly killed in the airstrike. Unconfirmed reports claimed he was the relative of a senior Hamas commander.
Hamas said a 23-year-old pregnant woman and her infant daughter were killed in an IDF strike. The woman’s husband was reported moderately injured.
Conricus said he could not comment on the case, but stressed that the air force was bombing “only military targets” in the Gaza Strip.
At least six other Palestinians were injured as a result of the IDF strikes, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
“We have more capabilities in our arsenal,” the anonymous senior officer threatened. “We are ready to continue attacking, attacking and attacking. Our strikes deeply affect Hamas. It would be better off returning to the understandings reached after Operation Protective Edge [in 2014].”
The military said a large number of additional forces were being deployed to the Gaza area. However, no additional reservist units have been called up as of Thursday morning, Conricus said.
According to the spokesman, the military was ready to evacuate communities in southern Israel if war breaks out.
“This is something that we are prepared to do, but this is not something that is in process or that we are eager to do,” Conricus said.
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Source: Times of Israel