“Operation Breaking Dawn”, Israel’s latest military operation against Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip, lasted a mere 55 hours, but it was significant in that it slightly shifted the power dynamic in the Gaza Strip. More on that, but first, what were the events surrounding this latest round of fighting? Well, for starters, Israel reportedly received credible intelligence about Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s plans for imminent attacks against Israeli civilians. Events leading up to the operation began the first week of August, and quickly escalated into a full-blown military engagement between the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
Palestinian Islamic Jihad is an Iranian-armed and funded terror organization operating in both the Gaza Strip and the Judea-Samaria region of Israel (what is commonly, but erroneously, referred to as the “West Bank”). In the Gaza Strip, it is slowly becoming a serious rival of Hamas, the terror organization that rules the enclave. They were reportedly planning an imminent large-scale attack against Israeli civilians, which is why Israel took decisive measures against the PIJ’s senior leadership.
On August 1, 2022, the IDF arrested PIJ’s senior commander, Basam al-Saadi, in Jenin (a Palestinian refugee camp in Samaria). Tensions quickly rose in the Gaza Strip and Israel closed off roads in areas bordering the Gaza Strip to reduce civilian casualties in the likely event of a retaliatory attack. On Friday morning, August 5th, Israel eliminated one of PIJ’s top commanders, Tayseer Jabari, in a targeted attack in the Gaza Strip. That evening, PIJ indiscriminately fired 100 rockets into Israel, which officially marked the start of Israel’s “Operation Breaking Dawn”. Saturday evening, August 6th, Israel eliminated PIJ’s southern command chief, Khaled Mansour in Gaza in another targeted attack. As a result, on Sunday morning, August 7th, PIJ targeted Jerusalem and air raid sirens sounded in areas surrounding the capital city. Israel’s Iron Dome defense system intercepted all rockets so that not one civilian was physically hurt. That evening, Israel and PIJ entered an Egyptian-brokered cease fire at 8pm IDT (20:00), but not before PIJ shot another barrage of rockets into Israel. In all, PIJ fired 1,175 rockets, 200 of which fell short of Israel and landed in the Gaza Strip.
As in any war, the loss of life is the worst tragedy. While the numbers coming out of Gaza are not always trustworthy, to date, 49 Palestinians were killed. Of those, 38 were killed by IDF strikes. 11 were killed by misfired PIJ rockets. Of the 38 killed in IDF strikes, 32 were militants. No Israeli civilians or military personnel were killed as a result of the rocket launches.
Sadly, this is an area where Israel often gets blamed for “disproportionate” force, as if it would be more “proportionate” that more Israeli civilians died. Israel protects its citizens with bomb shelters and utilizes its greatest defensive weapon, the Iron Dome, which is incredibly effective. In this operation, the Iron Dome had a 96% success rate, which kept Israelis safe from being killed by PIJ rockets. The difficult truth is that Palestinian terror groups operate from within civilian areas, which is itself a war crime, store their weapons in hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings, and often fire their rockets from within civilian neighborhoods. When the IDF targets these weapons caches, they warn the people in advance to reduce civilian casualties. There are also numerous instances of Israel calling off targeted strikes because of civilians being spotted in the area. This time, tragically, numerous Palestinian civilians were killed when the PIJ’s misfired rockets landed in the Gaza Strip.
As mentioned, this operation shifted the balance of power in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which is the ruling power there, did not get involved other than to publicly voice its support for PIJ’s “resistance” against Israel. Hamas did not engage Israel militarily this time, which was somewhat surprising. This was also the first time that Israel directly engaged PIJ in a military operation but it most likely will not be the last. Could it be that PIJ is a viable threat to Hamas’ strength in the enclave? Time will tell…
Please continue to pray for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6)! Please pray for wisdom for Israeli officials, especially as they face more challenging times ahead. Lastly, please pray for Israel’s enemies, that they will come to know the God of Israel and for the day when we will all lay down our weapons to live in His peace.
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