IDF was preparing for a week-long operation against the Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza the military said on Saturday, as rocket fire towards communities along the border, continued overnight and in the morning hours.
"The Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted upwards of 95% of projectiles fired across the border," Brig, General Ran Kochav, the military spokesperson said on Saturday.
"We attacked 40 targets including five rocket launching pads and six stores or rocket production sites," Kochav said.
He praised the civilians for their fortitude, which he said allowed the military to conduct the operation entering its second day, and warned that if necessary, more senior members of the terror group would be targeted.
According to the IDF, among those killed with senior Islamic Jihad commander Tayseer al-Jabari on Friday, was head of the group's anti-tank unit, Abdullah Qadum, who was involved in planning attacks on Israel.
Overnight, troops arrested some 20 terror suspects affiliated with the Islamist group, in the West Bank.
Among those apprehended was a senior member of the terror group, Abdullah Qadum, who was arrested near Jenin.
"The Islamic Jihad is a group without a leadership, and less well organized than the Gaza ruling Hamas," Kochav said. 'It sustained a major blow during last year's 11 days of fighting, which was evident with its ability now, to fire rockets accurately," he said. "Less than 10 rockets were fired at central Israel on Friday, and some of those landed in the sea," he said.
Although the Gaza ruling Hamas terror group has not yet joined the fighting, two other armed Palestinian factions had also launched rockets at Israel, according to the military.
Kochav said that among the fatalities in the IDF attack on Friday, were operatives of a squad preparing to launch a mortar attack against Israelis.
The Interior Ministry announced it was closing beaches to civilians up to 33 miles north of the Gaza Border in case of rocket fire.