In response, IDF fighter jets struck 12 terror targets in Gaza, including a factory used to manufacture parts for terror tunnels and concrete, a maritime terror tunnel shaft along the coast, and several terror sites in military compounds, among them rocket manufacturing facilities and a central logistical military complex.
The factory used to manufacture parts for terror tunnels was intended to be used as a hotel, but was overtaken by the Hamas terror organization in 2012. The factory manufactures parts for terror tunnels under the guise of civilian infrastructure.
In 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense, senior Hamas members used the building as shelter, believing the IDF would not target a civilian hotel construction site. In this building, Hamas terrorists continued to plan fighting and command rocket launching units. Months later, in 2013, Hamas took over the site entirely, blocked the entrance, and began establishing a concrete factory under the guise of a civilian construction site. The factory manufactured concrete parts designed exclusively for terror tunnels, including reinforcements, flooring, and concrete arches, which have no civilian use.
Hamas operated engineering vehicles in the site, and loaded the parts clandestinely onto trucks covered with tarp, to be delivered to digging sites across the Gaza Strip. The factory stopped producing concrete during Operation Protective Edge (2014), but continued serving Hamas' war efforts – rocket launchers were placed in its vicinity and Hamas operatives resided in the site during the fighting.
The launch sites were dug adjacent to the structure, again believing it would not be an IDF target due to its civilian appearance. During the operation, four rockets were launched at Israel. Immediately after this, the factory resumed its regular activity and has continued to be a source of concrete parts for Hamas' terror tunnels. The open areas around the factory were also considered a "closed military zone" and Hamas used them to practice short and medium range rocket launching and briefly operated a tunnel digging workshop there.
The IDF strike was conducted in response to the shots fired at civilian engineering vehicles earlier today, and the multiple rockets launched from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory this evening. The Hamas terror organization continues to target IDF troops, security infrastructure, and Israeli civilians.
Early Thursday morning, IDF fighter jets targeted over 100 of Hamas’ strategic military sites. The strikes took place in ten of Hamas' military compounds throughout the Gaza Strip, and included manufacturing facilities, training complexes and advanced weapons and capability sites.
Among the targets were:
- Hamas headquarters in Jabalia, including dozens of military sites
- A military compound used by the commander of northern Gaza City, which included a maritime tunnel
- A Hamas outpost used by the Jabalia Battalion for urban warfare and underwater training
- A military compound of the Zaytun battalion used to store weapons and for terror tunnel digging
- A military compound of the East Jabalia Battalion used for training in urban warfare, and the site of a shaft leading to an terror tunnel complex
- A Hamas base in the northern Gaza Strip used for urban warfare training and rocket launching
- A compound of the Jabalia Battalion used for training and meetings of senior battalion commanders
- A military compound used by Hamas to store weapons and explosives. The site used to be home to rocket launching dugouts.
- Hamas military compound used by the Deir al-Balah Battalion, which is the site of a current tunnel digging operation
These strikes were conducted in response to the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel over the course of the evening and into the early morning hours.
“The important part is the decision making on the Gazan side, on Hamas’ side, and what they will try to achieve by firing rockets at Israeli civilians. I think that they are not furthering or promoting their own interest or the civilian interest in Gaza by escalating the situation, and by firing at Israeli civilians,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, Head of the International Press and Social Media Branch.
Hamas is responsible for the events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it and will bear the consequences for its actions against Israeli civilians and sovereignty. The IDF condemns terror activity and is prepared for a wide variety of scenarios while continuing to fulfill its mission to defend Israeli civilians.