IDF says it launched major offensive on dozens of rocket launch tubes in Gaza

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The Israel Defense Forces says it has launched a major offensive against the Hamas terror group’s rocket-launching capabilities in the northern Gaza Strip, after hundreds of projectiles were fired from the area at Israeli cities across the border earlier in the day.

IDF spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says some 80 fighter jets, including the advanced F-35 aircraft, are taking part in the operation, which began this afternoon.

According to Zilberman, the military aims to destroy dozens of rocket launch tubes that the terror group has buried around the northern Gaza Strip. The spokesman says this would “totally neutralize” the rocket launching capabilities of three Hamas brigades in northern Gaza.

An F-35 fighter jet takes off during a surprise exercise, ‘Galilee Rose,’ in February 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

Zilberman says the military has also conducted an additional targeted killing of a Hamas commander, taking out the head of the terror group’s anti-tank guided missile unit in Gaza City.

The spokesman says the IDF also bombed an attack tunnel approaching the border with Israel, which had operatives in it at the time and are now trapped inside.

“This is not something that will end in 24 hours. This is something that will last,” he says, echoing similar comments made by Defense Minister Benny Gantz earlier in the day.

According to Zilberman, 3,000 reservists have been called up to various units in the military, notably the Southern Command and Home Front Command, and reinforcements were sent to the Gaza Division from the Golani Infantry Brigade and 7th Armored Brigade. He says an additional Iron Dome missile defense battery has also been deployed in southern Israel.

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