During the three day Operation Breaking Dawn, the IDF managed to assassinate the top officials in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza, destroy central facilities the movement used to manufacture weapons and intercept 97% of rockets that needed to be intercepted successfully.
Senior officials in the defense establishment stated on Tuesday that the IDF had met all the objectives that were set at the beginning of the operation, including focusing strikes only on Islamic Jihad, destroying the movement’s capabilities, assassinating senior officials and members and preventing the movement from achieving its goals.
The operation increased deterrence, changed the face of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement and restored stability to the area, according to the officials.
How Operation Breaking Dawn began
The IDF clarified on Tuesday that shortly after the arrest of Islamic Jihad official Bassam al-Saadi in Jenin last week, threats were made by the movement to carry out sniper and anti-tank attacks against Israelis, leading IDF Southern Command commander Eliezer Toledano to to raise the level of alert in the command and to refresh an operative plan known as “Black Sash” which was built to target Islamic Jihad.
Early Wednesday morning, the defense establishment received an alert that the terrorist movement intended to carry out an anti-tank missile attack against a civilian bus, leading to the decision to issue strict movement restrictions on communities and roads near the Gaza border.
IDF operations during Operation Breaking Dawn, August 2022 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)
Later that day, a situation assessment was held and it became clear that Islamic Jihad would not back down from its threats, despite mediation efforts by Egypt and Qatar, leading the IDF to decide to launch an operation.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi demanded from the start that a strong defense be set up along the border fence and that the IDF take the initiative and carry out an opening strike that would include targeted assassinations against senior members of Islamic Jihad.
Two senior Islamic Jihad officials taken out in initial strike
On Friday it was estimated that the opening strike would take place on Saturday morning, but in the end it was decided to launch the strike on Friday afternoon at 4:15 p.m. with an airstrike killing Islamic Jihad’s commander of the northern Gaza sector, Tayseer Jabari, and a drone strike targeted Abdallah Kadum, a senior commander of the movement’s anti-tank units, who was riding on a motorcycle. IDF drones and tanks carried out strikes against the movement’s positions and observation points at the same time.
IDF strikes Gaza during Operation Breaking Dawn, August 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)
The IDF also assassinated Khaled Mansour, the commander of Islamic Jihad in southern Gaza, during the operation. The official had conducted terrorist attacks against Israel for years, including an attack in 2010 in which IDF soldiers Eliraz Peretz and Ilan Sviatkovsky were killed. Mansour also served as the head of the movement’s rocket unit and lead hundreds of rocket launches against Israel.
Mansour was also responsible for Islamic Jihad’s efforts to build terrorist tunnels and one of the tunnels built under his command which was meant to be used to infiltrate into Israel was destroyed during Operation Breaking Dawn.
The targets hit during the operation also included 17 observation points – including six which were manned at the time – 45 long range missile targets, eight posts, eight weapon storehouses, six weapon manufacturing sites, three targets related to the movement’s naval efforts.
During the operation, 1,175 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, although about 200 fell short and fell within the coastal enclave, with some of the failed launches causing civilian casualties.
It was also revealed on Tuesday that during the operation Islamic Jihad had intended to launch a drone towards the Tamar gas rig off the coast of Ashdod, but the attempt failed and the drone was not launched, according to Army Radio.
Missiles are placed on Israeli aircraft during Operation Breaking Dawn, August 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)
During the operation, the Israeli Air Force had a large number of drones and fighter jets in the air above the Gaza Strip for both attack and intelligence gathering purposes. Footage and information collected by the aircraft were transmitted to a single operations room where the commander of the Air Force was able to see all the footage of the various Islamic Jihad sites, as well as activity in Syria, Lebanon, Israel’s natural gas rigs in the Mediterranean and other locations.