JERUSALEM, Israel – Nearly 200,000 Israelis spent the night Tuesday in bomb shelters as terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired 45 rockets and mortar shells on southern Israeli communities.
Seven projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile battery, and three exploded inside Israeli communities, one near a kindergarten. It was the second time in two weeks a kindergarten was hit by rocket fire, IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told journalists by conference call Wednesday morning.
Repairing the path near the kindergarten, Photo, IDF Spokesman's Office
In response, the IDF targeted 25 sites of the terror group's military infrastructure in the Strip.
Conricus called it "another link in the long chain of terror" perpetrated by Hamas, the Palestinian faction that's ruled the coastal enclave for the past 11 years. The IDF has also destroyed 10 cross-border attack tunnels, he added.
IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
Their goal, he said, is to kill and injure as many Israeli citizens as possible and inflict as much damage as they can on their homes and communities.
Over the past several months, Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched hundreds of rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel. Two weeks ago, they fired more than 100 projectiles at southern Israel.
Last month, two separate terror cells tried to sabotage the security infrastructure at two IDF posts, one near northern Gaza and one near southern Gaza.
IDF soldiers guarding the border with the Gaza Strip, Photo, IDF Spokesman's Office
Hamas is desperate and uses various means at its disposal. Conricus said Iran is "definitely connected, financially, politically and militarily" to the terrorism emanating from Gaza, and Israel has Intelligence information to prove it.
There's been an "industrial effort" during the "Great March of Return," which began on March 30, to produce incendiary kites and balloons that have burned up more than 25 square kilometers of agricultural land, forests and nature reserves.
The media, he said, "echoes and amplifies" the violent demonstrations at the border, encouraging the terrorists to escalate the situation.
"We [the IDF] target military positions in response to their targeting our civilians," he said.
"There is no justification whatsoever to attack," he concluded.