Palestinians unleash rockets as far as Tel Aviv, Rishon LeZion, Ramat Gan

Scores of rockets were launched without pause against a swiftly widening area of Israel up to the central city of Tel Aviv on Wednesday, May 10, more than a day after the IDF Gaza operation killed 3 Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza. The rockets targeted locations bordering on the enclave, before reaching the central Israel cities of Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan and Rishon Lezion in the north and Netivot in the east. No casualties were immediately reported. Iron Dome batteries widely dispersed in readiness for Palestinian retaliation blew up most of the rockets in mid-air, while the IDF air force continuously bombed the rocket launch sites embedded in clusters in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF did not wait for the Islamic Jihad to decide when and how to retaliate for the loss of its leaders and many of its military assets to the Israeli operation. Early Wednesday an Islamic Jihad rocket squad was caught from the air and eliminated.

While the targeting of the three Jihad leaders in three separate precise strikes was an outstanding intelligence feat, the IDF was puzzled by the delay in the Iran-backed group’s response. Some said the Jihad was waiting to rope in Hamas, the terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip, into its response. It was also suggested that Jihad may be emulating its fellow Iranian proxy, Hizballah, which tends to take its time before responding to the damage Israel causes its Syria-based assets, rather opting for surprising and painful action at an opportune moment.

In Jan. 2015, the Lebanese Hizballah waited several weeks after losing eight commanders and an Iranian general on the Syrian border before shooting an anti-tank rocket at an Israeli military vehicle driving through the divided village of Ghajar, killing Maj. Yohai Klangel, and 1st Sgt. Dor Haim Nini, and injuring 9 passengers.

The reason Jihad waited for 30 hours before unleashing a long string of rockets appears to be that, after being shorn of its leaders, the terrorist group held out for its masters in Tehran and partners-in-terror Hamas to provide ironclad practical guarantees – not just verbal promises -to take part in the forthcoming war on Israel. Jihad had no intention of fighting Israel singlehanded, especially after PM Binyamin Netanyahu announced that the first operation was just the beginning of a war, possibly on multiple fronts. Therefore, the volume and extent of the rocket offensive launched from Gaza on Wednesday are testament to the group achieving the back-up required.

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