Israeli cities continue to be bombarded by rockets from Gaza. Earlier today, two more Israelis were killed by Hamas rockets fired into southern Israel. There were also rocket attacks on Be’er Sheva and Rishon LeZion, and sirens in Jerusalem; more than 1,300 rockets have been fired towards Israel since November 14.
The sole purpose of Operation Pillar of Defense is to end Hamas’ terrorist rocket fire and cross-border attacks on Israel and its citizens. The government of Israel welcomes Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-moon, Sec. Hillary Clinton and other world leaders to the region and hopes a diplomatic effort will yield a solution that would establish a long term quiet in the south.
Residence building in Rishon Lezion hit by a rocket
If the firing continues and diplomatic efforts do not yield, the IDF will take any measure necessary, including a ground operation. IDF ground forces are ready for deployment around the Gaza Strip, to carry on the primary mission to protect Israeli people and cities.
During Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel has hit more than 1,400 targets in Gaza, targeting Hamas terrorist operatives and infrastructure. Israel has almost completely destroyed the long range missile capabilities of Hamas, in particular, Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets and launchers. Hamas’ medium-range rocket capabilities, and its command and control abilities (senior leadership and infrastructure) have also been significantly damaged during the operation.
Hamas terrorists deliberately and indiscriminately target Israeli civilians, while hiding behind their civilians; this is a double war crime. They fire rockets from densely populated civilian areas in Gaza, including mosques and hospitals.
Israel operates with the utmost care and caution to protect the lives of those in Gaza who are uninvolved. IDF operations are done in the most precise manner possible to limit civilian casualties. Earlier today, the IDF dropped leaflets over the Gaza Strip, warning civilians to stay away from Hamas, as well as warning others to evacuate specific neighborhoods. These leaflets follow Israel’s ongoing effort via text messages, phone calls and leaflets telling Gazans to move away from Hamas terrorists and infrastructure.
Today, 120 trucks of goods were ready to enter Gaza from Israel, however, only 24 trucks made it through as Hamas rockets fired in the vicinity forced the crossing to close.
Israel abides by international law and its own high moral code of conduct. We deeply regret the loss of life of uninvolved civilians.
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