According to the IDF, Hamas’s offensive capabilities, especially those related to naval operations, were damaged in the counterattacks.

One of the targets

One of the targets Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

Hamas’s terror infrastructure was severely damaged in the series of Israeli attacks following the intense rocket and mortar attacks from the coastal enclave this week, the IDF spokesperson explained on Thursday as he released aerial photographs of some of the targets. The images are of a drone storage facility, a weapons manufacturing center and a naval base, all of which belong to the terrorist group.

A total of 65 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets were hit by Israeli fighter jets on Tuesday in multiple strikes. The IDF explained that most of the targets were related to the two terrorist groups’ offensive capabilities. Most of Hamas’s rocket manufacturing equipment was destroyed in the attacks and the terrorist group’s weapons arsenals were also hit.

“The IDF strike damaged the terror organization’s stockpile of weapons and affected the financial investment required to develop weapons in the future,” the IDF spokesperson said. The senior military official also stressed that the vast majority of the terrorist groups’ naval forces and compounds were destroyed, which will make it difficult for them to carry out maritime terror activities.

The IDF’s focus on Hamas’s naval forces and facilities is not a new development. For weeks, the sites have been the targets of IDF strikes. About a month ago, Israeli fighter jets attacked six Hamas naval targets in response to the violent clashes along the Israel-Gaza border.

In addition, earlier this week, the Israeli Defense Ministry announced that it has launched the construction of an underwater barrier designed to prevent Gazan terrorists from infiltrating Israel via the Mediterranean.

The construction of the three-layer barrier is expected to be complete by the end of the year. The ministry decided to build the barrier, which is similar to a seawall, after terrorists tried to infiltrate Israel via the Mediterranean during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that the barrier will weaken the strategic naval capabilities of Hamas in the coastal enclave. “This is the only barrier of its kind in the world,” he proclaimed. “We will continue to protect the citizens of Israel with strength and sophistication.”

The Tuesday morning attacks from Gaza on Israeli communities near the Gaza border were the PIJ’s response to the elimination of three of its members by Israeli forces earlier this week. The IDF had attacked a PIJ observation post after discovering an explosive device near the border, eliminating the three terrorists.

While the PIJ was the force that began launching the rockets and mortars, Hamas quickly joined in on the attacked. The rare cooperation between the two terrorist groups even led to them releasing a joint statement in which they shared responsibility for the attacks.

The joint effort was noticed in Israel, as demonstrated in the IDF’s choice of targets and a statement released by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Tuesday, as the Israel-Gaza tensions were rising, Netanyahu commented on the attacks and stressed that Israel plans to hold Hamas responsible as it is the governing power in the coastal enclave. “Israel views with utmost gravity the attacks against it and its communities by Hamas and Islamic Jihad from the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said. “The IDF will respond with great force to these attacks. Israel will exact a heavy price from anyone who tries to attack it, and we view Hamas as responsible for preventing such attacks against us.”