As the rocket attacks from Gaza and the IDF airstrikes continued on Monday, Gaza terrorists are once again coming under fire for using civilian locations to launch missiles at Israeli civilians. According to the IDF, a soccer stadium was the site used to launch the longer-range Fajr 5 missiles at the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas, the farthest such attacks which placed hundreds of thousands of more Israelis at risk. The IDF website reported they later struck the stadium based on their intelligence regarding the site.
“At first glance it seems as if it’s a normal stadium, but the intelligence information shows that we actually saw the terror organization using the stadium as a launching site,” IDF spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich told The Mideast Update. “…So they took a civilian area once again, located in a very dense area, and used it as a launching site.”
Leibovich said that as of Monday afternoon Israel time, a handful of rockets had been fired at the greater Tel Aviv area, but all had been intercepted by Israeli missile defense. The rocket fired toward Jerusalem landed in an open area.
The IDF Twitter feed reported on Monday that 877 Gaza rockets had been fired at Israel in a five day-stretch, with the Iron Dome defense system intercepting 302 of them. Leibovich said that just 3.5% of the Gaza rockets had struck urban areas in Israel, giving credit to the Iron Dome.
The missile defense system is designed to intercept only rockets that threaten urban areas, meaning hundreds of potential hits have been prevented. “Iron Dome simply saves lives,” said Leibovich.
Despite that, Leibovich said three Israeli have been killed in the conflict and dozens wounded.
The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported that more than 80 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting as of Monday, but Leibovich said that Hamas’ use of civilian areas for rocket attacks is the reason Gazan civilians are being harmed.
“We struck over 1,300 [terrorist] targets and the number of civilians casualties is very low compared to the number of targets we struck,” said Leibovich. “We actually took great precautions in preventing the loss of human lives because we understand the difficulty of this area: It is very crowded, it’s an urban warfare type of operation.
“But having said that, Hamas deliberately located launchers and weapons sites right in the middle of the neighborhood, right next to the houses, to the schools, to the mosque, and this is something that of course makes our lives extremely difficult.”
The IDF spokeswoman further said that more than half of the Palestinians killed were terrorists. The IDF’s websites have reported that thousands of phone calls have been made and leaflets dropped warning Gazans to stay away from Hamas sites.
Leibovich also pointed out that that on Sunday more than 130 trucks entered Gaza with supplies, a process the Israelis are still facilitating “despite the rocketfire.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 19, 2012)