By Aaron Klein
TEL AVIV – A missile launch site in the Gaza Strip was set up by Hamas just half a block from a mosque and children’s playground, according to aerial photographs provided to KleinOnline by the Israel Defense Forces today.
Israel on Wednesday carried out a surgical strike of the site in question – a Fajr-5 missile launch pad established in the heavily populated Zeitoun district of Gaza to fire long range rockets into the Jewish state.
The photograph of the launch site, posted above, shows a children’s playground and a mosque located about a half a block away as well as two civilian factories and a gas station also within a half a block radius.
In a new development, Hamas on Friday said it fired a rocket toward Jerusalem. Air sirens were heard in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Security sources confirmed one rocket had landed in an open area in a Palestinian village just outside Gush Etzion, a suburb located south of Jerusalem near Bethlehem.
Abu Abdullah, a spokesperson for Hamas’ so-called military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, told KleinOnline today the rocket fired at Jerusalem was aimed at the Knesset, or Israel’s parliament.
Abdullah also claimed Hamas was targeting the official residence of Israeli President Shimon Peres with the Jerusalem rocket fire.
“This is not the end of the surprises we can have,” Abdullah said.
“In some circumstances, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will not be the last station of our targets.”
On both Friday and today air raid sirens were blasted in Tel Aviv and explosions could be heard.
In a dramatic display, today’s rocket fired at Tel Aviv was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome battery system, which had deployed in the region just hours earlier.
That rocket added to more than 240 Iron Dome interceptions throughout Israel since the beginning of what the Jewish state is calling Operation Pillar of Defense.
Since the beginning of that operation, more than 400 rockets have hit Israeli territory. Five Israeli civilians and 4 soldiers were injured by rocket fire today.
Meanwhile, Israel has been taking preparations for a possible ground operation into Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces said over 16,000 reservists have been mobilized, out of the now 75,000 approved for call-up by the Israeli government
The IDF told KleinOnline the Paratrooper and Givati Infantry brigades have completed what they say are final preparations for a potential ground operation. The forces are currently outside Gaza on standby awaiting orders.
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