Between 2000 and 2008, more than 8,000 rockets and mortar shells were fired at civilians in Israel by the Hamas, a radical Islamic terrorist organization. This barrage of fire deliberately endangered the lives of over a million people. Three years ago today, on December 27th, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, aimed at reducing Hamas’ ability to harm Israelis.
The operation began with massive aerial strike orchestrated by the IAF, targeting over 170 terror facilities on the first day. Even in those intense first days – and continuing afterwards — trucks loaded with goods and gas ordered by Gazans passed from Israel into the Strip, uninterrupted by the operation.
Following the aerial phase, ground forces entered Gaza on January 3rd. Throughout this phase, the IDF held its fire for three hours almost every single day in order to allow the entrance of relief efforts supplying food, water and medical supplies into Gaza.
During the course of the operation, the IDF made repeated efforts to warn civilians and clear areas of conflict. Over 2.5 million warning leaflets were distributed by aircraft over areas marked as terror facilities, announcing upcoming strike. Advance warnings, in the form of news broadcasts and approximately 165,000 phone calls, were made to residents of those buildings urging them to leave, prior to any military action. Finally, aerial strikes adhered followed the innovative “roof-knocking” procedure.
Since Operation Cast Lead, Hamas has been focused on rearming itself and increasing its military capabilities, extending the range and quality of weapons that threaten Israel’s civilian population. Thousand of rockets have been smuggled into Gaza, and many of the terror cells which Israel neutralized in 2008 have been revived.
See more photos of Hamas weapons captured by IDF forces.