The IDF launched a major aerial offensive against the Hamas terrorist network in Gaza on Tuesday afternoon in response to the latest barrage of rockets from the enclave, which killed two people in Ashkelon and wounded others.
IDF spokesperson Hidai Zilberman told reporters that 80 fighter jets, including the advanced F-35 aircraft, are taking part in the operation, targeting dozens of rocket launch tubes that Hamas has buried around the northern Gaza Strip. Zilberman said this would “totally neutralize” the rocket capabilities of three Hamas brigades in northern Gaza.
In addition, the IDF carried out the additional targeted killing of a Hamas commander, the head of their anti-tank guided missile unit in Gaza City.
The spokesman says the IDF also bombed an attack tunnel approaching the border with Israel, which had operatives in it at the time and are now trapped inside.
“This is not something that will end in 24 hours. This is something that will last,” he said, echoing similar comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz earlier in the day.
According to Zilberman, 3,000 reservists have been called up to bolster the Southern Command and Home Front Command, and reinforcements were sent to the Gaza Division from the Golani Infantry Brigade and 7th Armored Brigade. An additional Iron Dome missile defense battery has also been deployed in southern Israel.