IDF says it harmed Islamic Jihad ‘significantly’ during Gaza operation

The Israeli army believes it has inflicted “significant” damage on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group, destroying infrastructure, including a tunnel into Israel described as a “flagship” project, and removing its top brass, the army said on Tuesday. .

Israel and Islamic Jihad halted three days of heavy fighting on Sunday that saw hundreds of rockets fired at Israeli cities and heavy airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Dozens of Palestinians were killed in the round of violence, according to Hamas authorities in Gaza, though Israel blamed errant fire by Palestinian fighters for many of those deaths.

In a briefing that concluded the 66-hour Operation Dawn, the Israel Defense Forces said they “significantly damaged Palestinian Islamic Jihad and its leadership.”

The army launched the first airstrikes after indications of an impending PIJ anti-tank guided missile attack on Israeli civilians or soldiers on the border. Those attacks killed the PIJ commander in northern Gaza, Tayseer Jabari.

According to new details revealed by the IDF on Tuesday, the IDF used small slipper bombs to hit Jabari’s sixth-floor apartment in the 14-story tower in Gaza City.

The munitions entered the seventh-floor wall at an angle, penetrated the sixth-floor ceiling and only then exploded, to minimize collateral damage, senior officials said.

Troops load missiles onto a fighter jet during Operation Dawn, in an image released by the army on August 9, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

In another major airstrike on the second night of the operation, the IIP commander in southern Gaza, Khaled Mansour, was killed.

The IDF delayed the attack on Mansour several times, as his apartment was near a children’s playground. The military posted a video to abort the attack, in an attempt to show his efforts to avoid harming civilians, even when faced with the opportunity to hit a first-tier target.

Read more: Operation Dawn was a tactical success, but it will not be the last round of fighting.

The IDF attacked 170 targets, using fighter jets, armed drones, helicopter gunships and artillery, according to the report.

The targets included 17 observation posts (six of which were occupied by PIJ operatives), 45 rocket and mortar launch sites, eight military camps, eight weapons caches, six weapons production facilities, three targets related to the PIJ naval force and an “attack”. tunnel.”

In total over the three days, 1,175 rockets and mortars were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel. The Iron Dome anti-rocket system intercepted more than 380 projectiles fired towards populated areas, with an unprecedented success rate of 97 percent, the IDF said.

An Iron Dome launches a missile to intercept an incoming projectile near the border with the Gaza Strip during Operation Dawn, in a picture released by the army on August 9, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

The May 2021 conflict saw an interception rate of 94%, up from 89% in the 2014 war and 86% in 2012, according to military data. The high interception rate was attributed to defense system upgrades as well as limited PIJ firepower.

Several rockets managed to evade the system and land in populated areas, causing some damage to homes and civilian infrastructure, in addition to slightly injuring at least four people, including two soldiers. Dozens more people were treated for injuries sustained while running to shelters and for anxiety.

Rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists towards Israel, in Gaza City, on August 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

The IDF still struggled to prevent rocket fire into Israel, with officials saying it had only hit 10 squads either on their way to launch an attack or had just fired rockets.

The military said it focused much of its airstrike efforts on rocket production and storage sites, to delay PIJ before the next potential conflict. The IDF believed these attacks would make it “significantly more difficult” for PIJ to rearm, but some officials say it already has thousands more rockets at the ready.

An F-35 fighter jet is seen during Operation Dawn, in an image released by the army on August 9, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

According to IDF data, some 200 rockets fired at Israel fell short inside the Gaza Strip. In several cases, failed rocket the launches killed Palestinian civilians. According to military estimates, at least 16 uninvolved Palestinians were killed in such incidents, some of them children.

The IDF said that the most important objective of the operation was a tunnel attack that hit early Sunday morning. The army said the tunnel, built several meters underground from the southern Gaza city of Rafah, would be used to “enter and attack Israel by surprise.” The IDF said the tunnel did not cross Israeli territory, as Israel has a high-tech underground wall that protects its border with Gaza from attack tunnels, which once threatened southern cities.

The tunnel was Mansour’s “flagship” project, according to a senior IDF official.

Supporters of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group march with banners showing top commanders Khaled Mansour (L) and Tayseer Jabari, who were killed in Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, during a rally at the Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon on August 7. 2022. (Anwar Amro/AFP)

Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip said 45 people were killed in the fighting, including 16 children, but did not say how many of the total killed were affiliated with terror groups. At least 15 deaths were claimed as members by the PIJ, Hamas and another smaller terrorist group.

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