Gaza Op By The Numbers: 1,478 Islamic Jihad Rockets, 422 IDF Strikes
Written by The Ministry of Jesus Christ on May 14, 2023
With Operation Shield and Arrow concluded after around five days of fighting following a ceasefire late Saturday night, the IDF on Sunday put out its summary of the Gaza conflict.From May 9 to May 13, Islamic Jihad fired 1,478 rockets and mortars on Israel, while the IDF hit the terror group 422 times, including 278 completely distinct targets.The Iron Dome missile defense system shot down around 95% of Islamic Jihad rockets that threatened Israelis, with over 430 shoot downs.In addition, 20% of Islamic Jihad rockets landed in Gaza, killing three Gazans and wounding dozens.Another key aspect of the IDF’s strategy was successfully keeping Hamas out of the conflict.Footage of IAF strikes on rocket launchers in the Gaza Strip during Operation Shield and Arrow. (Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)In terms of Israeli military accomplishments, the IDF hopes that the operation generally restored deterrence and more specifically will deter attacks from Gaza on Jerusalem Day this Thursday evening and Friday.Toledano: ‘It was important to start with complete surprise’Despite that hope, there was a brief and small breaking of the ceasefire from Gaza on Sunday night when one rocket was fired toward Gaza border communities and Ashkelon, though it landed in an open field.The IDF responded by striking observation posts belonging to Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip shortly after the rocket fire. Even if Islamic Jihad might have been responsible for the attack, during “peacetime” the IDF holds Hamas responsible for terror emanating from Gaza, which is under its control.A source in the Joint Operations Rooms of the Palestinian Resistance Factions in Gaza told Al Jazeera that the rocket was launched due to a “technical defect,” stressing that “the resistance confirms its commitment to the ceasefire.”The IDF also killed six senior Islamic Jihad leaders, including three to start the conflict around 2 a.m. on May 9.IDF Southern Command head Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano said, “It was important to us to start the operation with complete surprise, in the middle of peacetime, because against terror organizations that use their citizens and families as human shields, it is necessary to operate using clever tactics.”Further, IDF sources on Sunday revealed more details about some of the multiple times that they delayed attacks on the three senior Jihad leaders in order to reduce the number of ancillary civilian casualties and to make sure they hit them all at once. There were at least two earlier incidents where the IDF called off the attacks.This was after Islamic Jihad fired over 100 rockets on Israel on May 2-3 when one of its key spokespeople in the West Bank, Khader Adnan, died in Israeli detention while on a hunger strike.In fact, the IDF said that both Israel and Hamas were surprised by the number of rockets fired by Islamic Jihad and that this left Israel little choice but to provide a major response.Besides the initial success in striking the three Islamic Jihad leaders, IDF chief spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari has said that a parallel achievement that could not be taken entirely for granted was striking another three top Islamic Jihad leaders on May 11 and 12. This was especially difficult because those officials were already trying to hide, knowing they were targets.Finding them mid-operation was its own special intelligence challenge.But Toledano said, “It was important to continue with the successive attacks [to thwart Islamic Jihad threats] and to thwart [Islamic Jihad] each day. This work was a byproduct of our partnership, with no ego and without addressing at all how much credit I [or anyone else] should get.”Other achievements according to the IDF was reducing Islamic Jihad’s mortar fire capabilities by 50% by striking around 63 mortar-connected targets.The IDF did not specify percentages of its impact on remote-timer-fired rockets, but it did say that it had destroyed 122 concealed rocket positions, which it estimated had prevented the firing of another 800 rockets more than were fired.Next, the IDF struck 12 target-locations that had been used to manufacture rockets as well as 19 Islamic Jihad command centers to disrupt the terror group’s ability to coordinate its activities.This was a significant amount of the possibly only dozens of such command centers that Islamic Jihad possesses.Further, besides the six senior Islamic Jihad officials killed, another 15 more junior terrorists were killed by IDF attacks.The IDF said that 120 combat aircraft and 14 combat helicopters were involved along with 115 strikes carried out by drones and another 10 strikes carried out by land-based military forces.Further, besides the six senior Islamic Jihad officials killed, another 15 more junior terrorists were killed by IDF attacks.Another stunning statistic was that the IDF’s drones spent over 4,000 hours hovering and flying during the five-day operation.Hundreds of reservists were involved in key combat roles despite concerns in recent months that reservists might not answer the call to duty in protest of the government’s potential judicial overhaul.There were 8,200,000 interactions between Israeli citizens and the Home Front’s online platform for providing guidance and information.Twenty ships from the navy were also involved in providing security from the sea during the operation.The Islamic Jihad officials assassinated by the IDFThe first of the three most senior Islamic Jihad officials killed in the initial IDF strikes was Khalil Bahitini. The commander of the al-Quds Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip, Bahitini was responsible for rocket fire toward Israel in the past month, and was planning further rocket fire in the near future, according to the IDF.IAF strikes on senior Islamic Jihad terrorists during Operation Shield and Arrow (Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)Next was Tareq Ezzaldin, a spokesperson for the terror group who was responsible for the communications between the movement and its branches in the West Bank, for transferring funds and for coordinating incitement efforts in Israeli territory. Ezzaldin was released from Israeli prison in the Gilad Schalit prisoner swap.Finally was Jihad Ghanem, secretary of the movement’s military council, who was one of the most senior and veteran operatives in the movement, and served at one point as the commander of the al-Quds Brigades in the southern Gaza Strip. In his latest position, Ghanem was responsible for coordinating the transfer of funds and weapons from the group to Hamas.They were all killed almost simultaneously, within minutes of each other, by a mix of around 40 aircraft and drones.The wives and some of the children of the three senior terrorists were killed in the strikes as well.Despite those numbers, most current and former IDF officials cited the operation as an example of a series of top-notch surgical strikes in complex urban areas that mostly succeeded at keeping civilian casualties lower than what might be expected from other militaries with lesser intelligence and precision munitions capabilities.Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.
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