JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) issued warnings to residents in three northern Gaza cities, calling on them to evacuate their homes for their own safety ahead of planned air strikes.
The warnings were delivered early Wednesday morning to residents of Beit Lahyia, Shuja’iya and Zeitoun by recorded phone messages and text messages, as well as by leaflets dropped throughout the area.
The messages explain that a high volume of rockets being shot at Israel are originating from these areas and that the IDF plans to carry out aerial strikes on targets in the communities. The message also reads: “The IDF does not want to harm you, and your families. The evacuation is for your own safety. You should not return to the premises until further notice. Whoever disregards these instructions and fails to evacuate immediately, endangers their own lives, as well as those of their families.”
Hamas told the civilian residents of the communities to disregard the warnings, according to the IDF.
Overnight Tuesday to Wednesday the IDF targeted at least 39 of what it called terror targets, four people it identified as terrorists, and command and control centers used by senior Hamas leadership and other terrorists.
Since Tuesday afternoon, when Israel halted its unilateral observance of a cease-fire, the IDF struck some 100 targets, about half of which were rocket launchers, as well as terror tunnels, weapon storage and manufacturing facilities, and various military compounds and facilities.
In total, throughout Operation Protective Edge, the IDF has struck about 1,825 terror-related targets across the Gaza Strip, according to the IDF.
At least 20 rockets were fired Wednesday morning at Israel from Gaza, including a large salvo at Tel Aviv, which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Shrapnel from one of the rockets fell through the roof of a home in south Tel Aviv, landing in a bedroom.
Since the beginning of the operation nine days ago more than 1,260 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, reaching to the center and north of the country. Some 225 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, with an overall success rate of 86 percent, according to the IDF.