Palestinians are seen checking the damage caused after a 15-floor building was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, on May 13, 2021. (photo credit: ATIA MOHAMMED/FLASH90)
Hamas”metro,’ kilometres of tunnels in northern Gaza used by the militant organisation to launch attacks, is one of the targets.
IDF attacks on the Gaza Strip continued in the early morning hours of Friday, with the military bombing Hamas arms depots as well as other weapons and launch points. According to the IDF, a senior Islamic Jihad anti-tank guided missile commander was also killed, and the Iron Dome destroyed another drone in Israel’s south.
Over 1,000 bombs and shells were launched into Gaza, according to IDF reports, in what was described as the largest and most violent bombardment of Hamas since the 2014 Gaza War, also known as Operation Protective Edge.
Tanks and artillery cannons stationed along the border, as well as over 160 aerial sorties, took part in the attack aimed at putting pressure on Hamas. Diplomatic officials are mindful that pressure is mounting on Israel, and that time is running out to achieve its objectives. The United Nations Security Council will meet early next week.
Overnight, there were three massive barrages of over 55 missiles, but no missile fire to the middle of Israel.
According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, IDF air and ground forces assaulted the Gaza Strip Thursday night. After the start of Operation Guardians of the Walls on Monday, Israel has targeted over 700 Hamas targets, including senior commanders and assault drones fired by the terror group.
Over 700 Hamas targets have been targeted by the Israeli Air Force in the first four days of Operation Guardians of the Walls, an operation that is 95 percent airstrikes, and 60 operatives, including senior commanders, have been killed.
The IAF’s initial attacks targeted vital Hamas facilities, which the military claims would have long-term consequences for the terror group.
Some 60 Hamas operatives have also been killed including 10 senior commanders since the operation began on Monday. According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, 103 Gazans were killed on Thursday, and 580 were injured.
Palestinian families have been fleeing from the northern Gaza Strip following IDF strikes, Israeli media reported, citing Palestinian media sources.
On Thursday morning the IDF bombed government targets, Hamas’s central bank, a force that the Israeli military said belonged to the terror group’s navy unit as well the home of Iyad Tayeb, a top Hamas commander who oversaw a number of battalions. The IDF said that the home was being used for terrorist purposes.
“The organization is losing everything,” IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman told reporters on Thursday morning.
“Tonight we started destroying government targets in the Gaza Strip, such as central banks and internal security buildings. Hamas is beginning to discover cracks and there is pressure in the organization, even among the Gaza public who is losing its patience and sees these ruins on the eve of the [Eid al-Fitr] holiday,” he said.
Among the Hamas targets hit after the start of Operation Guardian of the Walls are police, Interior Security Ministry, and bank facilities, as well as commanders’ homes, including the battalion commander of Khan Yunis and the office of Hamas’ head of public security in Rafiah, as well as a naval commando unit and defensive tunnel insid.
The IDF also targeted Hamas’ cyber units in Gaza City, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit on Thursday night.
Four high-rise buildings were also destroyed by Israel Air Force airstrikes as well as the “operational apartment” of the head of Hamas’s drone unit Samer Abu Daka. The IDF said that the apartment was used for military purposes and had been targeted during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Another four “operational apartments” used to direct recent rocket attacks towards Israeli cities and belonging to senior Hamas commanders in Gaza were also hit. The apartments belonged to the deputy commander of Hamas’s Jabalya regiment in the northern Strip, as well as three company commanders in northern and central Gaza.
A Hamas intelligence facility that served as the main command center for the group’s surveillance network with dozens of operatives inside was also hit by an IAF airstrike on Thursday afternoon.
Flames and smoke rise during Israeli air strikes amid a flare-up of Israel-Palestinian violence, in the southern Gaza Strip May 11, 2021. (Credit: Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Some seven anti-tank guided missile cells were taken out by the IDF on Thursday alone.
Since the fighting began, the Israeli Air Force has also destroyed several Hamas drones, some laden with explosives, that crossed into Israel.
The IAF used F-16 fighter jets, Python-5 missiles, and Iron Dome missile batteries to down the drones until they crossed into Israel, while some detonated in the air.
Since the battle started, Hamas has deployed some drones, and in one video released by the military on Thursday, an F-16 fighter jet can be seen downing a suicide drone with around 5 kg of explosive payload.
Although the drones are assembled in Gaza, the military suspects that many of the parts are smuggled into the blockaded coastal enclave.
The IDF expects the campaign to continue in order to attack additional targets critical to Hamas’ military ability.