As rockets continued to rain on Israeli cities and towns, the country launched a massive attack against Hamas, the terror organisation that rules the Gaza Strip, targeting its extensive network of tunnels.
Over 160 Israeli military aircraft, flying simultaneously, launched an attack on 150 targets, hitting them with 450 munitions in around 40 minutes.
While the 40-minute, pre-dawn offensive was underway, Israeli tanks and artillery guns also conducted operations against Hamas, the Israel Defense Forces said, adding that the ground forces remained on Israel’s side of the border.
Reports said 500 artillery shells and 50 tank shells were fired during the operation targeting anti-tank missiles and rocket-launching teams of Hamas.
After the attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the defence forces will exact a “very heavy price” from Hamas.
Israeli forces have been using “knock on the roof” procedure in its attacks. Under this procedure, Israeli forces launch non-explosive charges at Gaza building as warning shots to alert civilians to leave the area before air strikes are launched.
The tunnel network targeted by Israel is used by Hamas operatives “in order to move, in order to hide, for cover," Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said in a briefing to foreign reporters.