IMRA – Independent Media Review and Analysis
What?Â MunitionsÂ andÂ rocketsÂ stockpiled in a place of worship? But, but… Â isn’t that what all the churches and Â synagogues are doing? I’m sure we are wrongly blaming innocent Muslims just for trying to defend themselves from constant islamophobic attacks. Right?
IAF hits Gaza mosque storing rocketsDec. 30, 2008
jpost.com staff, yaakov katz and AP , THE JERUSALEM POST
The IAF continued its assault on Gaza terrorist targets on Wednesday afternoon, bombing a Gaza City mosque and destroying a large number of rockets hidden inside.
Channel 10 reported that the IAF had received high-level orders to hit the mosque after Hamas terror operatives had run there with several rockets and Grad-type missiles.
The army said that the mosque, located in the western part of Gaza City, was used to store weapons and explosives and that terrorists had been using the building as cover when firing rockets at southern Israel.
The most recent rocket launch from the mosque occurred on Wednesday morning, the military said in a statement.
The strike set off numerous secondary explosions, caused by the munitions stockpiled in the mosque. In recent days joint IDF and ISA intelligence efforts produced information that terrorists were hoarding weapons in the mosque and carrying out rocket attacks against Israeli communities from its grounds, as well as using it as a place of hiding, the IDF said.
Meanwhile, a senior IDF officer said that IAF fighter jets had carried out some 500 sorties against Hamas targets in Gaza in Operation Cast Lead and helicopters had flown hundreds more combat missions.
The officer claimed 95 percent of the intended targets were hit. He said all efforts were made to avoid civilian casualties, including calling residents on their phones to warn them their buildings were about to be hit.
The officer spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.
Gaza officials put the death toll at more than 390 dead and 1,600 wounded since the operation began on Saturday. Hamas said some 200 uniformed members of Hamas security forces had been killed, and the UN reported that at least 60 Palestinian civilians had died.
Meanwhile, Israel said it would allow 2,000 tons of food and medical supplies to enter Gaza on Wednesday, in addition to 4,000 tons the military says have been allowed in since the offensive began. Several dozen chronically ill and wounded Gazans were also authorized to enter Israel for treatment Wednesday, the military said.
On Wednesday morning, the IAF struck targets in the northern Gaza Strip. Most of the attacks were reportedly directed against rocket launchers that were being used in the intense bombardment of southern Israel, while one strike was said to target a senior member of the Islamic Jihad.
The Islamic Jihad commander was reportedly killed in the airstrike, in the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis.
Also Wednesday, the air force attacked Hamas installations and government buildings in the Gaza Strip, including the office of the organization’s prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh.
It was the second time that Haniyeh’s office had been targeted and the army said that the building was being used “as a center for the planning, support and financing of terrorist activities against Israel.”
The office of the Hamas Interior Ministry, located in the same area of Gaza City, was also attacked.
The army said that the IAF had attacked 35 additional targets overnight, including tunnels in the Rafah border area, weapons storage facilities, Hamas outposts and an armed rocket launcher.
Navy forces also attacked a number of targets in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas outposts, training camps, guarding vessels used by Hamas naval forces and launching posts used to fire rockets at Israel.
“The IDF will continue its mission, attack the infrastructure and buildings that Hamas is using,” the army said “and will operate against terrorist organizations and anyone who provides support to terrorism.”
Earlier Tuesday night, the air force bombed the launcher of the Grad-model rockets that were fired at Beersheba, as well as the cell responsible for the attacks. The army said it successfully hit its target.
Palestinians said that a medic was killed and two others were wounded when a missile landed next to their ambulance during a clash east of Gaza City. The IDF said it was not aware of the incident.
AP contributed to this report
Palestinian sources said that some 390 people had been killed since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead on Saturday.
Mosque used as rocket storage site targeted
Â IAF aircraft targeted a mosque in the Tel El Hawwa neighborhood in Gaza
City on Wednesday afternoon that was used by Hamas as a storage site for
Grad missiles and Qassam rockets, as well as a staging ground for rocket and
missile launches. The most recent rocket launch from the mosque occurred
The strike set off numerous secondary explosions, caused by the munitions
stockpiled in the mosque. In recent days joint IDF and ISA intelligence
efforts produced information that terrorists were hoarding weapons in the
mosque and carrying out rocket attacks against Israeli communities from its
grounds, as well as using it as a place of hiding.
The IDF will continue to attack any target used for terrorist activity, and
will not hesitate to strike those involved in terrorism against the citizens
of the State of Israel even, if they cynically choose to operate from
locations of religious or cultural significance.Â Â Â