Fighters in an “Iron Dome” Battery
Minister of Defense Barak: “We will not allow anyone to hurt the citizens of our country”
On Friday, an IAF aircraft attacked Zuhir al-Qaisi, an executive of the terrorist organization “The Popular Resistance Committees”, in response to knowledge of his intention to lead a combined terrorist attack on southern Israel. al-Qaisi, who is counted as one of the organizers of the attack on Route 12 that killed eight Israelis, was in the final planning stages toward another attack, which the IDF attempted to prevent. The military branch of the Islamic Jihad responded to the attacks and promised to retaliate, adding that the “restful period is over”.
“Days and Nights for the security of the Residents of the Country”
Since, more than 90 rockets were fired toward the State of Israel, out of which the Iron Dome intercepted nearly 30 that were aimed toward residential centers. Out of 31 rockets that entered the range of the system, 28 were intercepted. The rest of the rockets fell onto open fields.
Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, visited one of the batteries and spoke with the fighters. “I came to convey to you my gratitude”, he said. “Thank you for the excellent work you are doing. The system not only alters the protection of our citizens, but also the freedom of activity of the leadership and military executive board, and this achievement must be expanded. It’s an effort that will take several years, but it is essential”. The Minister of Defense added that this current escalation round is still far from over. “That said, we will not allow anyone to hurt the citizens of our country”.
Commander of the IAF, Major General Ido Nehoshtan, also met with the commanders and soldiers of the Iron Dome. “We work in an attack dimension and a defense dimension, with three fully active batteries that give us wide coverage. Our real test will be when the results arrive”, said the commander of the IAF. “In the past two days the aerial defense formation doubled its operational achievement. It will never be 100%, but we need to be sharp and prepared, never miss a missile, learn from what is not working and understand that everyone is looking up to us”.
Aside from the aerial defense to protect residencies, the IAF attacked seven terrorist links that were about to fire rackets toward Israeli territory. “On both fronts, defense and offense, I want to express my appreciation to the people of the force, who work day and night for the security of the country”, added Major General Nehoshtan.
Since the beginning of the escalation, the IAF has been intensely active in the Gaza Strip. As a part of operational activity, target attacks have been carried out by combat planes, combat helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. The force has been operationally active by combining and synchronizing all fronts, and sees a significant achievement in the current situation in which there has not been monumental damage to the rear in comparison to the damage potential of over 100 rockets fired toward Israel in one day.
Head of the Aerial Formation: “We’re preparing for a round of several days”
“The IAF is working in a synchronized fashion on all fronts”, said Head of the Aerial Formation, Brigadier General Amikam Norkin. “We’re trying to attack power centers in the Gaza Strip. Our achievements will be measured through significant injury to the infrastructure of terrorist organizations and their people, preventing damage on the western border and strengthening our determent factor around the border of Gaza. We’re preparing for a round of several days”.
Throughout Thursday night, IAF aircrafts attacked a number of terrorist targets: three weapon manufacturing sites, two pits for firing rockets and a terrorist activity center. Palestinian authorities reported that 15 people were killed during the attacks.
On Friday, eight Israelis were injured from the rocket attacks. In the Eshkol Regional Council three people were injured from Qassam rocket debris, one of whose condition is severe. Another person from the area suffered from anxiety attacks. The four were evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, by Magen David Adom ambulances and an IAF helicopter.