Operation Protective Edge: Summary and Notable Incidents
Israel commenced Operation Protective Edge following the kidnapping of three Israeli teens and an increase in rocket fire from Gaza. Israel launched strikes against 1,576 targets, destroying Hamas’s command and control centers, missile launchers, tunnels and other assets. Some 1081 rockets have been launched at Israel, with approximately 191 intercepted by Iron Dome. No Israelis have died directly due to Hamas rockets, however 192 Palestinians have lost their lives in the fighting. As of this writing, Israel accepted and Hamas rejected an Egyptian ceasefire proposal. As a result, rockets from Gaza and Israel airstrikes continue.
Al-Quds publishes videos allegedly taken while the Hamas drone flies over Israel (Photo: Ynet)
Although most of its’ rockets remain crude, Hamas managed to fire M75, Fajr-5, and M-302 missiles deep into Israel, hitting Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and even Haifa, which is nearly 90 miles from Gaza. Some even hit Palestinian neighborhoods in the West Bank while others failed to reach Israel and fell back into Gaza. Seventy thousand people in Gaza lost power after a Hamas rocket hit a power line connecting Israel to Gaza. Fatah’s armed wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, also claimed responsibility for firing Grad rockets into Israel from Gaza.
Six Hamas terrorists died on July 7th after coming into contact with explosives in a tunnel leading from Gaza to Israel. On July 9th, the IDF successfully repelled an amphibious attack from Hamas commandos near Kibbutz Zikim, killing five gunmen. On July 13th, Israeli naval commandos launched a ground raid into Gaza to eliminate a large cache of long-range rockets. Four IDF troops were injured in the operation.
Hamas released footage of the Ababil-1s drone it launched into Israel, which it claimed was Iranian-made. Israel shot it down using a Patriot missile.
Sixteen year old Mohamed Abu Khudeir was kidnapped and killed on July 2nd in an apparent revenge murder several days after the discovery of the bodies of the three Israeli teenagers. Prime Minister Netanyahu called Abu Khudeir’s father to express his outrage and promised that the murderers will be “dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.” On July 7th, three Israelis, including two minors, confessed to the murder.
On July 10th, a Palestinian vehicle laden with explosives was intercepted at a checkpoint on Route 5 after guards noticed a large bag containing electrical wires and a gas tank. The bomb was defused and the driver confessed to attempting to carry out a bombing in Israel.
Sinai extremists fired two rockets near the border with Israel, killing one security officer and seven other civilians. Government officials said the attack, which injured 25 others, targeted North Sinai’s main security compound but hit a nearby shopping center in al-Arish.
A interceptor launched by an Iron Dome battery on July 9 near Ashdod. (Photo: Getty)
On July 1st, gunmen in Sinai kidnapped a Christian engineer working at a local cement factory. The incident marks the third time a member of Egypt’s Christian minority has been kidnapped this month. Most of the victims are held for ransom. Terrorists detonated a roadside bomb near the regional capital of capital of El-Arish on July 9th, killing one Egyptian soldier and wounding four more.
Eyewitnesses in North Sinai reported seeing four rockets fired at Israel by extremists on July 10th as Israel carried out Operation Protective Edge. Independent sources were unable to verify the claim and no one accepted responsibility for the attack. Egyptian security forces thwarted the launching of two rockets towards Israel from Sinai on July 13th.
According to the Egyptian military, security forces in Sinai have destroyed eight tunnels, arrested more than 250 “intruders” and confiscated over 4.5 tons of marijuana in recent weeks. Police in Sinai also confiscated 20 Grad rockets from smugglers passing into Gaza on July 11th. An Egyptian army raid in early July killed 17 Islamic militants in North Sinai. Another 12 people of the Takfiri movement were arrested, but no other details about the raid were immediately released.
According to Israeli Lt. Col. Anal Abbas, most of the Syrian territory near the Golan Heights has come under rebel control. Two Syrian army brigades stationed in the area have been repositioned; groups such as al-Nusra Front and Islamic State now hold the region south of Damascus.
On July 13th, a mortar round landed on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. IDF officials say the projectile was deliberately fired at the Jewish State, not a stray round from Syria’s civil war. The Israeli army responded by firing three missiles into Syria. No one was injured in the exchange.
The Lebanese security forces arrested a man in connection with the firing of three rockets into Israel on July 11th. The IDF responded by firing approximately 25 rounds of artillery fire towards the outskirts of Kfar Shuba. A military spokeswoman said army troops had dismantled two additional rockets being prepared for launch near the border. Two days later, the Lebanese army found another three rockets in the Tyre region of southern Lebanon. Meanwhile, a top Hamas official in Lebanon said Hamas and Hezbollah were “exchanging expertise” and cooperating on missions in the field.
The U.S. Treasury moved to blacklist Middle Eastern companies that help Hezbollah acquire drone components. The Beirut-based Stars Group Holding supported the Shiite terrorist organization by purchasing electronic and engine parts from their offices outside Lebanon.
During June, 62 rockets and 3 mortar shells were launched towards Israel from Sinai and Gaza in 34 attacks. One hundred different attacks occurred in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem including: 1 kidnap and murder; 23 IEDs; 5 small arms shootings; 71 firebombs.