Gaza Rockets Launched at Israel for Second Day in a Row After Targeted Killing

Rocket fire persisted for the second day on Israel on Wednesday morning, a day after some 200 rockets were launched from the Strip following the Israeli army and Shin Bet’s assassination of an Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza.

– Haaretz Weekly 12/11

Haaretz WeeklyHaaretz

Baha Abu al-Ata was said to have been behind many recent attacks on Israel. He was killed with his wife in their apartment by an aerial strike.

Fourteen more Palestinians, including one Islamic Jihad field commander, were killed and at least 50 were wounded in strikes the Israeli military conducted in the Strip on Tuesday and Wednesday.  

No rockets were fired overnight Tuesday, while the military said around 1 A.M. that it had conducted further airstrikes.

The Iron Dome defense system intercepted 90 percent of the day’s 220 rockets, which were fired as far north as Tel Aviv, causing schools in the south and much of the center to be closed, keeping 1 million students at home.

Read our full article on Tuesday's events here…

Analysis: Gaza escalation makes minority government in Israel a distant prospect ■ Targeted killing may not be a political ploy, but it’s certainly advantageous for Netanyahu ■ For Islamic Jihad, revenge for Israel's killing of Gaza leader isn't a top priority


10:39 A.M. Netanyahu says Israel doesn't seek escalation, but will respond if necessary  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel does not seek an escalation but will respond to any attacks. Speaking at the start of a government meeting, Netanyahu added that the Islamic Jihad has one choice: "To stop these attacks or to be dealt more and more blows." 

10:22 A.M. Israel army confirms striking several Islamic Jihad operatives planning to launch rockets    

10:04 A.M. Gaza's Health Ministry says four killed in Israeli strike on Strip

Gaza's Health Ministry said four Palestinians were killed in an Israeli strike near a mosque in Gaza City. Three of the them were identified as Rafat Mouhamad Ihad, and his two sons Rafat and Amir.

Concurrently, the Israeli army said it struck several Islamic Jihad militants that were preparing to launch a rocket.    

10:01 A.M. IDF spokesperson says central Israel is no less threatened by Gaza rockets than the country's southern communities  

IDF spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman said that Islamic Jihad might continue firing rockets at Israel in coming days, adding that central Israel is no less affected by the escalation than southern communities near the Gaza border.

Speaking to reporters, Zilberman said that restrictions on the civil population had been reduced to avoid long days of paralysis.   

9:18 A.M. Israel army strikes Islamic Jihad senior official's home in Rafah, Palestinians report

9:14 A.M. Islamic Jihad's military wing identifies slain Palestinian as Ala'a Jabar Ashtivi

Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, said 32-year-old Ala'a Jabar Ashtivi was killed earlier this morning in an Israeli strike on the Zeitun neighborhood in Gaza.   

8:49 A.M. Israeli army confirms striking Islamic Jihad commander

The Israeli army confirmed it struck an Islamic Jihad commander who was preparing to launch rockets toward Israel from northern Gaza.    

8:33 A.M. Schools closed south of the Israeli city of Rehovot   

8:25 A.M. Palestinian killed in Israeli strike on Gaza City

8:10 A.M. As rocket siren alerts sound in Israel, army strikes Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza

8:03 A.M. Some 220 Gaza rockets fired at Israel since Tuesday, 90 percent intercepted

Some 220 rockets were launched from Gaza toward Israel since Tuesday morning, with 90 percent of the projectiles. Sixty percent of the rockets fell in open areas.  

7:45 Israeli aircraft fires at Gaza cell that launched rockets at Israel, army says    

7:37 41 Israelis evacuated to the hospital in light condition

Some 23 Israelis were admitted to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon in light condition, and 18 were treated for anxiety. Five people were hospitalized.

7:25 Islamic Jihad field commander killed in Israeli strike on central Gaza, Gaza's Health Ministry says

Khaled Farag, 38, a field commander of the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, was killed in an Israeli strike on the Strip, according to Gaza's Health Ministry. Farag was killed in an agricultural area in central Gaza, the Shehab News Agency reported. 

7:08 Gaza's Education Ministry says schools in the Strip will be closed Wednesday 

7:06 A.M. Rocket alert sirens blare in southern Israel

6:59 A.M. Military spokesman says assessment is that Islamic Jihad will continue firing rockets today

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6:52 A.M. Reports in Gaza of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City

6:43 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in several communities near Gaza border

6:31 A.M. Sirens sound in Latrun, Beit Shemesh areas

Sirens sound in the Latrun and Beit Shemesh areas, some 20 kilometers west of Jerusalem, marking the furthest east that sirens have been heard since the flare-up began. 

6:06 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Israeli communities near Gaza border

5:55 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in southern Israel after hours-long lull

Sirens are heard in the area of the kibbutz of Kerem Shalom, after hours in which no rockets were fired from Gaza and Israel conducted no airstrikes. 

12:50 A.M. Israel strikes more Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza

The military says it has conducted airstrikes on a number of Islamic Jihad targets, including positions used for launching rockets. It also says that earlier in the night, an airstrike targeted three of the group's members after they launched rockets at Israel.

11:43 P.M. Biden: 'Intolerable' for Israelis to live under fear of rockets

Former Vice President Joe Biden has reacted to news of the flare-up, sharing an article about it on Twitter with the comment: " Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorist threats. It is intolerable that Israeli civilians live their lives under the constant fear of rocket attacks. That's why our administration was such a strong supporter of Israel's life-saving Iron Dome."

11:37 P.M. Israel avoids striking Hamas targets

As of Tuesday evening, Israel has not attacked any Hamas targets during the day's flare-up, in an effort to prevent that organization from joining the fight. 

Defense officials said any attack that caused mass casualties or significant damage to Hamas infrastructure would lead Hamas to enter the fray, but that it has no interest in doing so. Hamas intervening would significantly change the nature of the fighting, as the group's military capabilities are far greater than Islamic Jihad’s.

11:25 P.M. Pence: Gaza groups put violence ahead of their people

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has condemned the rocket fire, writing on Twitter: "The United States condemns the barrage of rockets on Israeli civilians. It's clear Hamas & Palestinian Islamic Jihad put violence ahead of bettering the lives of the people of Gaza. America strongly affirms Israel's right to defend itself."

10:21 P.M. Israeli army strikes several Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza

The Israeli army said it struck several Islamic Jihad terror targets in the Gaza Strip. 

10:03 P.M. Netanyahu, Foreign and Defense Committee head meet to discuss security situation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Gabi Ashkenazi met to discuss latest Israel-Gaza escalation.