Hundreds of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reservists have been mobilized to guard the area around Gaza in reaction to the Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad that is continuing a rocket barrage against the State of Israel. Thousands of innocent Israelis remain in nearby bomb shelters, dreading the moment they need to enter its doorways. Nearly 200 rockets have been fired at the Holy Land in just the past few days, all launching from the Gaza Strip.
The IDF has reported that approximately half of the missiles landed in exposed areas. Israel’s Iron Dome mobile all-weather air defense system has intercepted 90 percent of the rockets fired at the most populated areas. Nearly 40 individuals were slightly injured, mostly by shrapnel or stress-related indicators. The Israeli Air Force has reported that several key Islamic Jihad posts have been eradicated along the Gaza Strip. As one of his first actions after being appointed Defense Minister, Naftali Bennett has affirmed special emergency protocols within 50 miles of the battle zone. Schools and educational institutions in this area remain shuttered.
President Reuven Rivlin called on Israelis to adhere to the lifesaving tips that were issued, and he offered a blessing to the troops: “May the hands of the security forces be strengthened.”
Shiraz Cohen of Sderot was to celebrate her bas mitzvah this past Tuesday evening, but the festivities were postponed pending the conflict. But since no simchah deserves to be filled with gloom, Mayor Alon Davidi dropped by to deliver Shiraz some cheer.
The fighting follows a targeted mission where the IDF eliminated one of the most fanatical terrorists in recent memory, 42-year-old Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata, earlier this week. He was personally responsible for various recent rocket attacks on Israel, and sniper and drone assaults against the IDF. Attempts to exterminate Abu al-Ata have fallen flat since November 2012’s Operation Pillar of Defense. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu authorized this incursion as one of his last acts holding the joint role of Defense Minister.
Two Israeli Knesset ministers from the Arab Joint List took to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest the IDF actions, declaring their “opposition to the occupation.” Blue and White minister Yo’az Handel responded, “The Joint List rarely misses an opportunity to demonstrate against ‘those murdering Israelis.’ They are the ones who harm coexistence.”
Stories of survival are slowly emerging. One woman, headed towards Ashdod, averted certain death when a rocket touched ground just across from her vehicle at the Shtulim intersection.
The US Department of State announced its solidarity with Israel and its citizens and condemns the Jihadist attacks. US Vice President Mike Pence “affirms Israel’s right to defend itself” and noted that the Jihad terrorists “put violence ahead of bettering the lives of the people of Gaza.” The US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, stated America’s resolve to stand “with our friend and ally Israel.” Avi Berkowitz, a Senior Advisor to President Donald Trump, added that “the Administration continues to monitor the situation and that it is clear the main obstacles holding the Gazans back are Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
By Shabsie Saphirstein