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IDF chief said to order acceleration of plans for attack on Gaza rocket stocks

Military sources say plan aimed at undercutting terror groups’ ability to fire rockets during early stages of a future conflict after failure to properly target them in May war

Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, on May 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, on May 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi has ordered the military to accelerate plans for a possible broad attack on the rocket stockpiles of Gaza-based terror groups, according to a report Friday.

Citing unnamed sources in the General Staff’s Planning Directorate, the Walla news site said that the plan is aimed at significantly reducing the ability of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to target Israel with rockets in the early stages of a future conflict in the Gaza Strip.

The report said the Shin Bet security agency will also be involved in the planning.

The news site also reported that the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad is working to replenish its rocket supply following the 11-day fight in Gaza this May between Israel and Palestinian terror organizations.

Additionally, Hamas has been working to conceal its rockets in order to be able to attack the Israel Defense Forces from the land, sea and air, the report added, without citing a source.

During the conflict in May, known in Israel as Operation Guardian of the Walls, Hamas and other armed factions fired over 4,360 rockets and mortar shell, far higher than previous rounds of violence. Many of the projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi attends a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, on November 9, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In the days after the conflict, military officials acknowledged that due mostly to a lack of precise intelligence, the IDF was unable to destroy the lion’s share of the terror groups’ existing arsenals of rockets.

While the IDF developed techniques to somewhat address this rocket fire during the conflict, according to a senior IDF Southern Command officer, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad were overwhelmingly free to launch massive barrages at major Israeli population centers and key infrastructure.

The IDF destroyed some 850 of the more than 15,000 rockets that the terror groups had between them going into the conflict, according to Israeli military tallies.

After recognizing that the rockets were an area of weakness, the IDF has since set out to improve its ability to locate the launchers that have been buried and hidden throughout the Gaza Strip, including deep within civilian areas, in order to strike them in advance or, at least, destroy them more rapidly after they have been used.

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