IDF Operation Pillar of Defense - Friday, November 16 Updates
Israel Defense Forces
11:45 p.m.: The IDF has mobilized hundreds of reservists from Search and Rescue units in the Home Front Command. They are being put on standby, ready to respond to any building collapses due to rocket strikes. "The reservists were enlisted to rescue casualties from destroyed buildings and, if necessary, provide medical care to victims. The majority of the force is concentrated in the south because of the significant threat in the area, but there are reserves that are assigned to operate in the event of a building collapse in the central region."
As long as there is no need to locate and rescue injured civilians, the reservists will join the regular Home Front Command battalions and investigate the scenes of rocket strikes, while helping the police and Magen David Adom. In addition, they will participate in the Home Front Command's civilian assistance program by distributing brochures, preparing shelters, and providing residents with guidance.
11:30 p.m.: Over the past few hours, the IDF has targeted two senior Hamas operatives, including Muhammad Abu-Jalal, a Hamas company commander in Al-Muazi, as well as Khaled Shah'yer, a senior operative involved in the rocket launch array.
In addition, as a part of the effort to warn Gaza's civilians, the IDF has sent text messages to approximately 12,000 residents of the Gaza Strip. These messages were sent this morning and warn the residents to stay away from Hamas operatives.
10:30 p.m.: Rockets launched from the Gaza Strip have continued to fall over Israel. Today alone, 97 rockets have struck Israel, bring the total number of rocket strikes to 388 since that start of the operation on Wednesday, November 14th.
8:05 p.m.: Update on closed military zone and subequent road closings:
In accordance to the closed military zone warrant issued by the GOC southern command, Major General Tal Russo, the following roads are closed till further notice:
Road no. 10
Road no. 4, in the direction of Yad Mordechai. (If coming from a northern direction, turning left is possible in the direction of Be'er Sheba only, there is no entry to the part of the road that runs along the Gaza Strip.)
8:00 p.m.: Ahead of a possible ground invasion in the Gaza Strip, the Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz arrived in the south to brief both regular soldiers and reservists.
"We are here tonight on the eve of a possible ground operation," said the Chief of Staff to his soldiers. "This is not our first time in Gaza. We have been through a few days with very significant attacks on the scale of hundreds of daily targets, and have struck with great force and precision."
7:30 p.m.: The IDF is mobilizing forces, continuing with Operation Pillar of Defense according to pre-determined operational plans. The forces have been briefed and trained according to the specific guidelines of the plan, and will operate until the mission has been completed.
During the course of the day, the IDF targeted dozens of rocket launching sites, causing severe damage to the rocket launching capabilities of Hamas and other terror organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. In addition, several terrorist squads that were involved in firing rockets toward Israel, as well as a terror tunnel containing explosives in the central Gaza Strip, were targeted. Israeli Navy soldiers targeted terror activity sites in the southern and central Gaza Strip.
The aim of targeting these sites is to impair the rocket launching capability of terror organizations in the Gaza Strip and hamper their continued build up.
Since midnight, 66 rockets that were fired from the Gaza Strip hit Israel, a further 99 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome Missile Defense System.
5:30 p.m.: It has been confirmed that a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip has landed outside Jerusalem, Israel's capital city.
5:00 p.m.: Moments ago, rocket alarms sounded in Jersualem. Updates forthcoming.
3:20 p.m.: 3 IDF soldiers have been injured in a rocket attack in southern Israel. Injuries range from light to moderate.
As of this afternoon, the total number of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip that have struck Israel has exceeded 330. The Iron Dome system has continued to operate throughout the operation, intercepting 184 rockets. The IAF has continued to operate over the Gaza Strip, striking over 500 targets since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense.
2:00 p.m.: The Paratrooper and Givati Infantry brigades have completed the final prepartions for a potential ground operation. The forces are on standby, ready to enter should it be decided that a ground operation is necessary.
Paratrooper Brigade Commander Col. Amir Baram adressed his forces during a prepatory briefing in the field, saying, "We are already 48 hours into an operation that we knew would have to happen. We have spoken about it during training, exercises, and conferences. There is no doubt that we have to operate, this is why we enlisted, and why we have trained."
Over 16,000 reservists have been mobilized, out of the 30,000 approved by the Israeli government.
1:00 p.m.: As of this afternoon, 67 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip have struck Israel today. In addition, the Iron Dome system has intercepted 55 rockets today alone. In all, 335 rockets have struck Israel since Operation Pillar of Defense began on November 14th.
10:55 a.m.: Over the last two hours, over 50 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel.
7:44 a.m.: Overnight, the IDF targeted approximately 150 medium-range rocket launching sites as well as ammunition storage facilities across the Gaza Strip, causing severe damage to terror infrastructures. As a result of the IDF's targeting of rocket launching capabilities, rocket fire at Israel overnight was significantly decreased, with only a few rockets landing in open areas.
Since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, the Israel Air Force has targeted over 450 terror activity sites in the Gaza Strip. The aim of targeting these sites is to impair the rocket launching capability of terror organizations in the Gaza Strip and hamper their continuous build-up.
In addition, IAF aircraft targeted a central terror activity site in the southern Gaza Strip in order to harm the command and control posts of the Hamas terror organization. The sites that were targeted were positively identified by precise intelligence over the course of months.
The IDF has corrected a previous error that had misstated the number of rockets fired at Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense.
Over the past few days, over 300 rockets were fired at Israeli communities. One rocket hit the central Israeli city of Rishon Lezion, home to over 200,000 people, located approximately 60 km from the Gaza Strip. The Iron Dome Active Missile Defense System has successfully intercepted over 130 rockets launched from Gaza, aimed at Israel.
The Gaza strip has been turned into a frontal base for Iran, forcing Israeli citizens to live under unbearable circumstances. The IDF will continue to target sites that are used to carry out terror attacks against Israeli citizens. Currently, over the course of a rapid and preplanned military strike, the IDF continues to target underground launch sites used to fire rockets at Israeli communities.
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