The Israel Air Force has hit more than 400 targets in the Gaza Strip since the start of Operation Protective Edge, dropping more than 400 tons of explosives on the territory since Monday night, when the massive rocket fire at southern Israel from the Strip began. That, according to IAF figures.
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“We think Hamas was surprised by Israel’s actions over these two days. We are systematically hitting their infrastructure, where Hamas commanders operate,” a senior IAF officer told defense correspondents on Wednesday.
The officer, speaking Wednesday morning, said that in the past 36 hours, the IAF destroyed more buildings constituting the operational infrastructure of Hamas than it had in all of Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel’s eight-day offensive in November 2012. “I don’t know whether any Hamas brigade commanders will have a place to return to,” the officer said, adding that it is difficult at this point to assess the direct effect to Hamas of the damage. “They’re still firing, but not at full strength,” he said.
While Military Intelligence says Hamas has fired long-range M-302 rockets into Israel, the IAF officer said at the briefing that because Israel did not know where these rockets were being kept, it was impossible to target them prior to launch.
Most IAF attacks on rockets have targeted short-range (up to 40 kilometers) projectiles. “We are attacking what we know and what we can,” the officer said. MI believes Hamas has hundreds of rockets with a range of up to 80 kilometers, most of them made in Gaza and at least 20 of have already been fired into Israeli territory. The officer said that before Operation Pillar of Defense, the number of similar rockets in the Gaza Strip was in the low two digits, and only a few remained after the operation.