Palestinian militants in Gaza succeeded in launching rockets far into northern Israel Wednesday, reaching near the town of Zichron Yaakov, a full 75 miles from the Gaza strip.
Israeli media reported that the rockets landed in open areas and that one person was injured from shrapnel.
An Iron Dome missile is launched to intercept a rocket in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, neighboring the Gaza Strip, July 9, 2014. (DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP/Getty Images)
Channel 2 TV Arab affairs analyst Ehud Yaari reported that Hamas was able to reach that distance because it had first emptied the explosive payload, allowing it to fly farther than previous salvoes.
The Israel Defense Forces identified the long-ran rocket as a Syrian-made M-302, similar to those found on an Iranian weapons shipment headed for Gaza that Israel intercepted in March. Another such rocket hit Hadera, north of Tel Aviv, on Tuesday night.
Yesterday, an M302 rocket fired by #Hamas landed 100km from #Gaza. Presumed to be one of dozens. We are prepared to eliminate this threat— Israel Defense Forces (@Israel Defense Forces) 1404881919.0
Israel maintains that Hamas has dozens of such long-range rockets capable of striking deeper into Israel than in 2012 when it struck as far north as the Tel Aviv area.
The IDF tweeted a photo showing kindergarten-age children ducking for cover when an incoming missile alert sounded.
Kindergartners living near Gaza take cover as Hamas terrorists fire rockets at Israel. http://t.co/V9lEsHHuHc— Israel Defense Forces (@Israel Defense Forces) 1404906273.0
Israel launched its Operation Protective Edge earlier this week in response to a sustained barrage of Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel that followed the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager, which followed the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers.
Israeli air force jets hit Gaza repeatedly on Wednesday as rocket attacks from Gaza pounded Israel.
Reuters quoted Palestinian officials who said that 37 people had been killed in Gaza, a number TheBlaze is unable to independently authenticate.
Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system knocked many of the rockets out of the sky, or pushed them off of their trajectories.
The IDF said it had struck hidden rocket launching sites in Gaza as well as weapons storage depots and the homes of senior Hamas officials. It also noted that it had telephoned the homes where families live to alert them to empty out before they were struck. Palestinians verified that they had received phone calls, a practice that stood in stark contrast with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which intentionally targeted Israeli civilian communities.
One Palestinian man in Gaza expressed his defiance to a Reuters reporter, saying, "I am fine, as long as Tel Aviv is being hit."
Israeli reporter Yossi Melman, who covers intelligence affairs, said Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad possess 400 long-range rockets, of which 30 to 40 having been destroyed by the air force attacks.
Intel updates Hamas and PIJ have an arsenal of 400 long range missiles 4 times bigger than estimated. 30-40 destroyed by IAF & 40 used.— Yossi Melman (@Yossi Melman) 1404852152.0
“There is a cache of about 300 left for use in the next 10 days, at this rate,” Melman tweeted.
The IDF is now calling up 40,000 reservists to potentially join the operation, amid talk — but no final decision — of launching of a ground attack on Gaza.