Air raid sirens blared in the Israeli capital again Monday morning, as a Palestinian militant faction said it had fired another barrage of missiles at the Jewish state. Explosions rang out as Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system brought down some of the rockets, but there was no immediate information on how many might have slipped through.
The latest salvo of rockets, claimed by Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades military unit, came after Israel said it had struck hundreds of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight. Four Israeli combat divisions were also being deployed to the country’s south and some 100,000 reservists called up to fight as battles with Hamas militants continued.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said “fighter jets and helicopters, aircraft and artillery struck over 500 Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip” Sunday night and Monday morning, claiming to have destroyed tunnels and at least seven “Hamas command centers” in the blockaded Palestinian territory. The IDF said it also struck a command center used by Islamic Jihad, another Iran-backed terror group based in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
“It’s taking more time than we expected to get things back into a defensive security posture,” Israeli military spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told journalists Monday morning, acknowledging the ongoing battles in southern Israel three days after Hamas launched its unprecedented attack on the Jewish state.
Death toll mounts as Israel bolsters Gaza blockade
Officials said the Israeli death toll from Hamas’ surprise attack stood at 700 Monday morning, but it was expected to continue to rise. More than 250 of the dead were people who had been attending a music festival near the border with Gaza when the attack took place. At least four U.S. nationals were among the dead, and an undetermined number remained missing.