The Islamic Jihad has boosted its military capabilities: The organization released pictures of a new multi-barrel rocket launch pad on Thursday and said it was used for the first time Wednesday in the massive rocket attack fired from Gaza at southern Israel.
The pictures show a pad that can launch 12 mortar shells at once. The device is buried partially underground, and ahead of its use, two doors close in to conceal it from view. Members of the Islamic Jihad say they intend to publish a video that documents the launches in question.
These images join a video released Thursday morning that presents a militant belonging to the Islamic Jihad threatening that his organization will continue to hit Israel with rockets. "We are ready for your invasion," the activist said in Hebrew. "We invite you to leave our country and search for your land. News is what you see, not what you hear."
|Islamic Jihad militant threatens Israel|
Islamic Jihad's new rocket launch pad
In light of the ongoing rocket fire Thursday morning, Ashdod Municipality decided to send students home from schools without proper protective shelters. Earlier in the day, two rockets landed in open fields between Ashkelon and Ashdod. Sirens also sounded in the towns of Yavne and Rehovot.
Students evacuated from a school in Ashdod (Photo: Eliad Levy)
Damage to Israeli home after rocket fire from Gaza (Photo: Roee Idan)
Responding to the rocket fire, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would not stand for attacks during the upcoming Purim festival. "I want to make it clear," he said, "we will hit hard at those who try to destroy our Purim joy."
The Islamic Jihad fired a barrage of at least 60 rockets at the Israeli south on Wednesday. The IDF responded with force, striking dozens of terror targets from the air and with artillery fire.
Thirty-one Islamic Jihad and Hamas targets were hit all across the Gaza Strip - two in an IDF artillery strike and 29 more in an Israel Air Force strike later on in the evening.