The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were mobilizing additional troops and aerial defense batteries after Hamas began shooting projectiles at Israeli civilians starting at 7:37PM on Wednesday evening and launched them consistently until early Thursday morning.
On the Israeli side, at least eleven people were wounded.
The Israeli military said Thursday morning that it struck more than 140 targets in Gaza in retaliation to a massive barrage of rockets that was fired at Israel overnight. More than 150 rockets were fired at Israel, the military said, with 25 rockets intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. The rest landed in open areas.
A senior Israeli military official said Thursday that the army is “nearing war with Gaza” and would evacuate Israelis living in communities adjacent to the border if necessary.
Some source reported that were spotted IDF’s tank and heave armored vehicles that heading toward Gaza border as serious escalations occur tonight.
“We don’t see the end of the escalation. We are closing in on operation in Gaza,” the senior IDF official told Israeli media outlets, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We have more capabilities in our arsenal,” he warned. “We are ready to continue attacking, attacking and attacking. Our strikes deeply affect Hamas, it would be better off returning to the understandings reached after Operation Protective Edge,” he said, referencing the last war fought between the sides in 2014.
Also. ABC News reported that Israeli combat aircraft struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip and three people were reported killed there.
According to the IDF, the “central logistics complex,” rocket manufacturing workshops and a cement plant that serves the construction of underground tunnels of militants were among the targets.
“The strikes were delivered in response to shooting at civil engineering equipment [at the Israeli-Palestinian border] and multiple rocket launches from the Gaza Strip targeting the Israeli territory,” the IDF press service said in a statement.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the deceased as 34-year-old Ali Ghandour, 23-year-old Inas Khamash, and her 18-month-old daughter, Bayan Khamash. Twelve others were injured, the Ministry said.
Warning of the imminent dangers of continued escalation, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov tweeted a statement early Thursday morning: “Our collective efforts have prevented the situation from exploding until now. If current escalation however is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people.”
UN Envoy @nmladenov deeply alarmed by escalation of violence btw #Gaza & #Israel. “Our collective efforts ve prevented the situation from exploding until now. If current escalation isn’t contained immediately, situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences 4 all” pic.twitter.com/nzfQ7DjixG
— UNSCO (@UNSCO_MEPP) 8 August 2018