Date: 08/01/2009, 6:24 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

On Saturday (Dec. 27), the sixth day of Hanukkah, the IDF (Zahal) began Operation Cast Lead with the aim of striking the infrastructure and terror sites of the Hamas terrorist organization, in the light of the continuous terror attacks perpetrated by Hamas from the Gaza Strip and the continued firing of missiles at Israeli citizens. At about 12:00 on Saturday (Dec.27), the IAF began to attack terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. Among the targets were weapons smuggling tunnels, rocket launching sites, and a weapons and ammunition storage facility.

After two days of IAF aerial strikes, the Israel Navy began to strike targets from the sea as well. The IN hit dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip, such as storage facilities, Hamas outposts, tunnels used to transport weapons and terrorists, various launching squads and weapons and rocket manufacturing and storage sites.

During the aforementioned strikes, the IDF (Zahal) frequently opened the Kerem Shalom crossing and the Erez crossing in order to facilitate the transfer of humanitarian aid in the form of medication, food, supplies, and ambulances into the Gaza Strip. In addition, the IDF (Zahal) also enabled the transfer of two injured Palestinian children and 20 chronically ill people from the Gaza Strip to hospitals in Israel, where they were given medical treatment.

The IDF (Zahal) also struck the houses and operational outposts of senior Hamas operatives. On the fourth evening of Operation Cast Lead (Dec.31), the IAF targeted three buildings in the Hamas government complex located in Tel Al-Hawa, which were the center of the Hamas government operations, including the financial and organizational planning of terror attacks. An assessment carried out after this strike confirmed that the offices of the ministers, vice-ministers, and senior workers of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Labor Ministry and the Ministry of Housing and Construction of the Hamas terrorist organization were completely destroyed.

The office of the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, and the building housing the Hamas Legislative Council and senior Hamas operatives Nizar Rayan and Nabil Amrin, were also attacked. In addition to that, the IDF (Zahal) also hit two mosques that served as storages for Qassam and Grad rockets and other weaponry used for terror attacks.

On Saturday (Jan.3), the IAF struck terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip while IDF (Zahal) forces were preparing for the second stage of Operation in Cast Lead – the ground operation in the Gaza Strip, which began at around 20:00. Forces from Infantry Corps, Engineering Corps, Armored Corps, Artillery Corps and Intelligence Corps entered the Gaza Strip with the aim of significantly weakening the Hamas infrastructure and gaining control over various launching areas.