Israel's Defense Against Terror from Gaza

Daily Update: July 22, 2014

On July 8, the IDF embarked on Operation Protective Edge to stop Hamas’ incessant rocket attacks against Israel’s civilians. On July 17, following ten days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to deescalate the situation, the IDF initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip.

Recent Developments

  • One IDF soldier was killed on Tuesday and nine on Monday, raising the number of Israeli military fatalities in Operation Protective Edge to 28. Two Israeli civilians have also been killed, and more than 124 Israeli soldiers are currently hospitalized for injuries.
  • Nearly 20,000 people attended the funeral of First Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli, a dual American-Israeli citizen, who died Sunday morning in Gaza along with 12 others from the Golani Brigade.
  • The IDF finished identifying the bodies of six of the seven Israeli soldiers whose armored personnel carrier was attacked Sunday by an anti-tank missile in the Gaza neighborhood of Shuja’iya. The seventh soldier, Sgt. Oron Shaul, has been declared “missing.”
  • Israel has uncovered 23 cross-border tunnels so far in its ground operations in Gaza, with 66 different access shafts to those tunnels, according to IDF reports. Tunnel entrances have been found in houses and mosques. The IDF believes there are dozens more tunnels near the border, in various stages of readiness.
  • For the second time in a week, the United Nations Relief and Works Association (UNRWA) found rockets in one of its schools in Gaza. The organization issued a statement in which it condemned the group or groups responsible.
  • IDF spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said that Hamas’ rocket arsenal has been cut in half – from 10,000 to 5,000 – since the start of Operation Protective Edge. Hamas has fired more than 1,500 rockets at Israel and Israel has destroyed approximately 3,500 rockets.
  • The IDF thwarted numerous infiltration attempts by terrorists from Gaza over the weekend:
      • Two IDF soldiers were killed Saturday while foiling an attack emanating from Gaza. Terrorists wearing IDF uniforms entered into Israel through a tunnel and fired machine guns and an anti-tank missile at Israeli soldiers. The soldiers returned fire, killing one and forcing the rest back into Gaza. The terrorists sought to carry out a lethal attack in one of the nearby communities.
      • The IDF thwarted another attack when two terrorists fired shots and an anti-tank missile at a nearby force, and soldiers returned fire and killed one of the terrorists. The second was wearing an explosive belt which detonated, causing his death. In the aftermath of the incident, forces uncovered tranquilizers and cuffs in his possession, carried with the intention of abducting Israelis.
      • Later that evening, a terrorist emerged from a concealed tunnel shaft while firing at IDF forces. The troops immediately retaliated, killing the terrorist.
  • On Sunday, Israel held fire for the third time since the start of the operation, agreeing to the Red Cross’ request for a two-hour humanitarian window in Shuja’iya. All three times, Hamas continued to launch rockets at Israel. Secretary of State John Kerry said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Hamas must “step up and show a level of reasonableness, and they need to accept the offer of a cease-fire.”
  • The IDF established a field hospital at the Erez Crossing on Sunday in order to supply medical assistance and humanitarian care to Palestinians from Gaza.

Since the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 8:

  • 2,160 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza
  • 1,700 rockets have struck Israel
  • 420 rockets have been intercepted by Iron Dome

Talking Points

  1. Hamas is relentlessly firing rockets at Israel.
    Since the beginning of July, Palestinian terrorists have fired over 500 missiles and projectiles at Israel, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Through constant missile barrages, terrorist infiltrations and cyber-attacks, Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist factions have waged physical and psychological warfare against Israel’s civilian population.

  2. Israel is exercising its legitimate right of self-defense.
    Israel has exercised its right to protect itself by undertaking military action that is has dubbed Operation Protective Edge. Israel made several efforts to defuse the situation, but Hamas rebuffed every Israeli feeler.  

  3. America must stand with Israel.
    It is critical for the United States to reiterate its support for its ally Israel, including its right to live in peace and to defend itself.  “No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians, and we support Israel’s right to defend itself against these vicious attacks,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.