IAF aims to target terror infrastructure, not fighters
3 incendiary balloon cells attacked on Sunday, with IAF firing upon them directly rather than firing near them, but the majority of the 100 or so rockets and missiles fired at Gaza targets on Saturday was aimed at infrastructure, with the IAF avoiding attacks terror combatants as much as possible.
Some 100 rockets and missiles were fired at the Gaza Strip on Saturday, the Israel Air Force said Sunday, adding the strikes targeted infrastructure, but deliberately didn't target terrorists.
The airstrikes resumed on Sunday when an IAF aircraft attacked three Hamas terror cells launching incendiary balloon from the northern and central Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.
Three fires caused by incendiary balloons have broken out so far Sunday in the Kibbutz Erez area.
Sources in the Gaza Strip told Ynet the ceasefire agreement with Hamas and Islamic Jihad only includes a gradual reduction of the incendiary balloons being flown from the strip into Israel, where they cause fires that wreak havoc on thousands of acres of farmland and woodland.
Dozens of fighter jets and other aircraft took part in daytime airstrikes, which were the most extensive aerial bombardments in the Gaza Strip since the end of Operation Protective Edge.
During the strikes on Saturday, the IAF dropped 50 tons of explosives in the Gaza Strip, while the Palestinian terror groups fired about a quarter of a ton of explosives at Israel—some 200 projectiles, which were fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Unlike previous confrontations, on Saturday the IDF succeeded in identifying and attacking rocket launch sites. While these were only a handful of the cases, and included the launchers rather than its operators, the senior noted that "The other side is also learning. We attacked a range of targets, including some surprising ones, after weeks of preparation for this day. We want to seriously damage Hamas's infrastructure without harming their fighters, which is more challenging when it happens in daylight."
The officer added that "this is not all of the power we can bring. We have a broad list of high-quality targets, and we are prepared to act day and night—even during the extensive division exercise that will take place this week in a south and in which we will take part. We acted in a precise manner, in the most crowded place in the world, without harming those uninvolved in the fighting."
One of the buildings struck by the IDF on Saturday was meant to be the "Palestinian national library," the IDF said Sunday morning, but in fact turned out to be a Hamas training facility.
The facility, located next to the Sheikh Zayed mosque, is an unfinished and abandoned five-story building in the al-Shati refugee camp, which was meant to be used for public or government services for the Palestinians, or at the very least for housing.
Instead, the IDF said it has been used for years as an urban warfare training facility for Hamas, and in recent months Hamas has also been using it to drill survival in the tunnels.
A tunnel was dug under the building, which connects to Hamas's massive underground tunnel network in the strip.
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Kamil Abu Rokon wrote on the official Facebook page in Arabic about the actual use of the building.
“In the clip you are seeing you can clearly see people from Hamas’s military wing conducting an exercise in the square of the building that was attacked,” he wrote.
“Yesterday there were claims that it was an innocuous civilian building and a kindergarten. The truth is before you. War exercises in built-up areas, an exercise simulating a kidnapping of an IDF soldier and taking him down into a terror tunnel—these are the goals that the building was being used for,” he continued.
“That’s not all. The training structure is also located next to a mosque, a holy place that is used for prayer,” he added.
“Residents of Gaza, understand this: A person who conducts terror drills near a children’s park does not care about your children,” he wrote.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit also uploaded a post on the matter. “Hamas continues to use civilian infrastructure for military needs, thereby endangering civilians under its control.” a statement said.