IAF strike in Gaza
Photo: AFP
Ambulance on Gazan border
Photo: AFP

Hamas: Commander killed in Gaza

'Our aim is to get message across to Hamas,' says IDF official, adding retaliatory strikes in Gaza could increase. Meanwhile army kills two gunmen belonging to Hamas's military wing, who fired rockets at Ashkelon

The IDF continued Friday evening to bomb targets in the Gaza Strip in response to unceasing projectile fire by terror groups.


Air Force craft attacked a rocket-launching cell that fired four rockets at Ashkelon, three of which were intercepted by Iron Dome. Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, announced that one of its commanders was killed in the strike along with an additional gunman.


In addition, Palestinian sources reported two killed and 10 injured from IDF tank fire on Sajaiya neighborhood.


The commander killed by the IDF was 27-year old Rayid Shehadeh, Hamas said. The IDF had announced after the strike that it had identified a direct hit.


More than 24 hours after beginning to bomb Gaza heavily, IDF officials said the army has no plans of stopping, and that the intensity of the strikes may be intensified until terror organizations understand the message.


"Our aim is to get a message across to Hamas, to clarify that we will not accept incidents the likes of which occurred yesterday," one official said, referring to an attack on a school bus that critically wounded a 16-year old boy.


Terrorists continued to slam Israel with projectile fire Friday, and more than 26 mortar shells and rockets were fired throughout the day. But IDF officials say Hamas is unwilling to aim for areas located far from the border, such as Beersheba or Ashdod.


"They understand their situation and are thinking on it," one official said. "They are beginning to understand that the anti-tank fire (at the school bus) wasn't worth it.


"They don't want to cause an increased Israeli response, but we are determined to continue operating against targets as well as rocket-launching cells. We will not hesitate to increase (military action). This operation will end when Hamas understands the price of its actions."


'Extraordinary achievement'

Meanwhile rocket fire towards Israel continues, with chicken coops as well as a factory and a residential structure already sustaining damage.


At around 5:45 pm, residents of Ashkelon witnessed loud explosions. A number of them wrote to Ynet that they had seen Iron Dome intercept rockets in the sky.


The system was installed just Monday, and made its first interception Thursday evening. Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised the successful interceptions by Iron Dome, calling them "an extraordinary achievement of the Israeli defense industry".


The army said earlier that apparently civilians had been harmed in its retaliatory strikes. "Hamas chooses to operate from within civilian populations and uses them as human shields," the statement says.


Rescue forces in Gaza claim that three civilians were killed in Gaza: A 20-year old woman and her mother, as well as a 55-year old man.


Elior Levy contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 04.08.11, 20:16
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