2012 Operation Pillar of Defense

On November 14, in response to incessant rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, the IDF launched a widespread campaign against terror targets in Gaza. The operation, called Pillar of Defense, had two main goals: cripple terror organizations in the Gaza Strip and defend Israelis living under fire. Here’s a summary of the events which took place during the operation.

The operation opened when the IDF surgically targeted Ahmed Jabari, head of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip. Jabari was directly responsible for executing terror attacks against Israel in the past.

During the next eight days, the IDF targeted more than 1,500 terror sites across the Gaza Strip. The sites that were targeted were positively identified by precise intelligence over the course of several months, including:

Pillar of Defense Summary

Top-ranking Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who were targeted included:

  • Ahmed Jabari, head of Hamas’ military wing – targeted on November 14
  • Hab’s Hassan Us Msamch, senior operative in Hamas’ police – targeted on November 15
  • Ahmed Abu Jalal, Commander of the military wing in Al-Muazi – targeted on November 16
  • Khaled Shaer, senior operative in the anti-tank operations – targeted on November 16
  • Osama Kadi, senior operative in the smuggling operations in the southern Gaza Strip – targeted on November 17
  • Muhammad Kalb, senior operative in the aerial defense operations – targated on November 17
  • Ramz Harb, Islamic Jihad senior operative in propaganda in Gaza city – targeted on November 19

For the first time ever — Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups fired long-range rockets, such as the Fajr-5, toward Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Though the IDF severely damaged the terrorist organizations’ long-range rocket arsenal, more than 3.5 million Israelis are still under the threat of Hamas’ rocket fire.

Hamas Rocket Threat Ranges Map
Hamas Rocket Threat Ranges Map

Throughout the operation, the IDF did everything that it could to minimize harm to civilians in Gaza.

Hamas' Goal is to Kill Israeli Civilians

Despite the IDF’s warnings, Hamas urged Palestinian civilians in Gaza to ignore the IDF warnings.

During the eight days of the operation — and in the weeks leading up to it — life was unbearable for more than 3.5 million Israelis. From November 14 to November 21, Palestinian terrorist groups fired more than 1,506 rockets at Israel.

House Hit By Rocket from Gaza
A damaged house in the Be’er Tuvia Regional Council following a direct hit by a rocket fired from Gaza. November 16, 2012

Of those 1,506 rockets fired from Gaza, more than 800 rockets struck Israel, damaging homes, schools and other civilian areas. Some of rockets reached the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas.

421 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome, which saved countless Israeli lives. 152 rockets fired from Gaza crashed back into Gaza.

Despite the IDF’s best efforts to protect everyone in Israel, five Israeli civilians were killed due to rocket fire, while an additional 240 Israeli civilians were injured. In addition, Cpl. Yosef Fartuk, 18, from Emmanuel, was killed on November 20 by a rocket fired from Gaza into Israel.

Since Hamas seized power in the Gaza Strip in 2007, the terrorist group has turned the coastal area into a forward base for Iran. The IDF is determined to continue targeting sites that are used to carry out terror attacks against Israel and its citizens.

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