TEL AVIV, July 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Over the three hours since Israel’s Protective Edge operation against Palestinian militants resumed Tuesday, the Israeli Air Force and Navy delivered strikes on 30 targets in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported.
The IDF said 20 masked launching platforms for rockets, Palestinian militant Islamist group Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) weapons depots and Islamic Jihad militant group control targets were hit by fire from air and sea in the enclave. Besides, Israel’s Air Force delivered a targeted strike to kill a Palestinian radical who was preparing to launch a rocket.
Israel, the IDF said, abstained from strikes on the Gaza Strip for six hours today since 09:00 local time while abiding by a ceasefire agreement suggested as part of Egypt’s peace initiative. But Palestinian militants rejected Cairo’s plan and continued rocket attacks on Israel all this time. Over the six hours of one-sided truce, 47 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip, the IDF said.
At 15:00 local time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the IDF to resume strikes against Gaza. The head of government made the decision after consultations with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Immediately after Netanyahu’s permission, the Israeli army resumed strikes on targets inside the Palestinian enclave.
Over the past three hours, radicals from the Gaza Strip launched at least 30 rockets on Israel.
Israeli-Palestinian relations grew sour after June 12, 2014, when three Jewish teenagers were abducted in the West Bank. Later the teenagers were found killed. Israel accused militants of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, of committing the crime.
The operation to search for the teenagers continued for more than two weeks and was accompanied by searches, arrests of Palestinian activists and shellings of the Palestinian territory.
On July 1, 2014, a 16-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem’s Palestinian Arab neighborhood of Shuafat was kidnapped and killed. Six ultra-right Jewish activists were arrested for the crime. The death of the Palestinian teenager caused riots among Palestinians.
On July 8, 2014, the Israel Defense Forces announced the start of the operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip against Hamas militants. The IDF made strikes on 50 targets in the Gaza Strip, most of which were launching platforms for rockets. Five Palestinians were killed and some 20 were wounded.
The immediate reason for the operation was that cities in southern Israel were massively shelled by Hamas military wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. According to the Israeli army’s press service, on July 7, some 90 missiles were fired on Israel from the Gaza Strip. As of early July, 450 missiles had been fired since the start of 2014.
Netanyahu ordered the IDF to prepare for a possible ground operation. Israel announced mobilization of 1,500 reservists and sent two army brigades to the border with Gaza.
Since the start of their activity on December 14, 1987, Hamas militants set a course for liberation of Israel-occupied Palestinian territories. The group has made a few dozen terrorist attacks against military and civilian facilities of Israel.
Hamas regularly shells Israel’s territory with homemade rockets. In response, Israel shells Gaza and holds military operations there to suppress militant activity and destroy Hamas’ military structure. According to Hamas, 1,365 Israelis died in 1987-2011 in terrorist attacks made by its militants.