The Israel Air Force launched a precision air strike on four senior Islamic Jihad terrorists who were using a Gaza media building as a hideout. The terrorists were all struck in the blast, and at least one has been killed, according to Palestinian medical sources.
Following the strike, a heavy barrage of five rockets was fired at Asheklon Monday evening. Iron Dome intercepted four rockets, though one struck a school, damaging the roof.
The firs of the assassinated leaders named was Bha'a Abu al-Ata, a member of Islamic Jihad's supreme military council, and commander of Gaza City brigade. He led rocket fire on Israel and oversaw the manufacture and import of rockets, including long-range Fajr projectiles.
Tisir Mahmoud Jabari, also a member of the supreme military council, headed terror operations, and orchestrated the firing of many rockets into Israel. He also took part in attacks on IDF forces.
Khalil Bahatini, was a senior operative involved in Islamic Jihad's long-range rocket program.
Ramaz Harb was an Islamic Jihad spokesman and an aid to Jabari.
Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy organization in Gaza, and receive direct orders from Tehran, as well as arms, long-range rockets, and financing.
Senior counter-terrorism expert Ely Karmon, of the Herzliya-based Institute for Counter-Terrorism, toldĀ The Jerusalem PostĀ Iran is using Islamic Jihad to try and drag Israel into a conflict "not only in Gaza, but also with Egypt, if we enter the Strip [in a ground offensive].
"This is the goal of the Iranians, to make [the world] forget about their nuclear project," Karmon added.
Hamas is driven in my opinion by the desire to see a more firm Egyptian regime on their side and compel them to entirely open all border crossings with Gaza," Karmon said.
He warned that Hezbollah too may attempt to launch a provocation from Lebanon.
The IDF has struck over 1350 targets in Gaza since the start of the operation, including 80 on Monday. The targets include bomb tunnels, rocket launchers, and four Islamic Jihad terrorists.
Rocket barrage on the South
Meanwhile on Monday the Iron Dome system intercepted at least 30 rockets fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. Some 120 rockets were fired into Israel throughout the day, targeting Ashkelon, Ashdod, Be'ersheva, and towns and villages across the south.
At least eight rockets were fired at Ashkelon from Gaza on Monday afternoon alone, police said. Two of the rockets hit the city, one hitting a house directly and the other hitting a yard. No injuries were reported, but three people were treated for shock, Magen David Adom paramedics said.
A rocket fired by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip hit a school parking lot in Ashkelon on Monday morning, causing damage to a building but no injuries.
The Iron Dome rocket-defense system intercepted seven rockets fired at Ashkelon and Ashdod and another launched toward Beersheba. One rocket exploded in an open field outside of Beersheba.
Throughout Monday, rockets landed in open fields outside Eshkol and Sha'ar Hanegev.