Jihad rockets take first aim at Jerusalem Hills. Israel: Truce talks irrelevant

One of the two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip towards the Jerusalem Hills on Friday, May 12, was intercepted by a David’s Sling missile; Iron Dome downed the second.  Day 4 of the IDF operation against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists also saw a dozen rockets plaguing the locations adjoining the Gaza Strip for another day, damaging a hothouse in the Eshkol region without casualties. After Beit Shemesh, Ness Harim, Gush Etzion, Beitar Ilit and Alon Shevut in the Jerusalem Hills went on rocket alert for the first timne, the IDF redoubled its assaults in the Gaza Strip on Jihad’s rocket firing posts and buried stocks. (see photo) Two of the four positions targeted in the south were the headquarters of Jihad’s Rafah commander and a two-man rocket squad poised for action.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reviewed the situation Friday afternoon with the defense minister and chief of staff. A message reportedly went out to Cairo that ceasefire negotiations at this time were irrelevant. Israel is evidently refusing at present to discuss terms for a halt in its Shield and Arrow operation so long as the Iran-sponsored Islamic Jihad keeps up its rocket fire on Israel.

At the last count, the terrorist group had fired 866 rockets in four days (later updated to a round 1,000) against Israel’s population centers, while the IDF struck a total of 215 terrorist targets. Most of the incoming rockets were downed by Iron Dome; two by David Sling, in its first battle performance. The direct hit to a Rehovot building which caused the first Israeli fatality on Thursday – and sent nine injured victims to hospital – was explained the next morning by a rare malfunction of an Iron Dome battery.
Military sources accounted for the pauses in Jihad’s rocket blitz – 13 hours up to Friday noon – by the effectiveness of IDF strikes against rocket launch squads and underground stocks which are activated by remote means.

Families who were evacuated to the north from locations neighboring the Gaza Strip just before the IDF operation began are wating to hear when they can return. The Home Command cancelled a Backroom Boys rock concert scheduled to take place in Rishon Lezion Friday night.

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