|Rockets in Gaza City: Iran's government controlled news media carried this picture on November 14, 2012 prior to the Israeli attack on Gaza in a news report praising what it calls 'Palestinian resistance fighters"|
Israel insists its targeting is precise and focused on militants. Hamas makes no such claim, and, in fact, can't; the rockets fired from Gaza are the very definition of indiscriminate, hugely imprecise and more likely to kill civilians than anyone else.
- Gaza may be manufacturing long-range rockets locally. If this is the case, a significant ground force offers the Israelis the best chance of finding and neutralizing the factories making these weapons. The Israeli Cabinet on Nov. 16 approved Defense Minister Ehud Barak's request to call up 75,000 reservists, significantly more than during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.
- The Israeli army meanwhile is strengthening its presence on the borders with Gaza. Primary roads leading to Gaza and running parallel to Sinai have been declared closed military zones.
- Tanks, armored personnel carriers, self-propelled artillery and troops continue to stream to the border, and many units already appear to be in position.
- The Israeli air force remained active throughout the night of Nov. 16-17, striking at targets across the Gaza Strip including key Hamas ministries, police stations and tunnels near the border crossing with Egypt.
- The IAF reportedly carried out strikes in Rafah's al-Sulan and al-Zahour neighborhoods, as well as east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp. According to IDF reports, the air force carried out a rapid and coordinated military strike, targeting approximately 70 underground medium-range rocket-launching sites in the less than an hour. The IDF claims direct hits were confirmed.
- The IAF will increasingly target Hamas militant defenses ahead of any ground invasion. Already the IAF has bombed militant defensive positions, particularly in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.
- Startfor's figures show that Gazan rockets launched AT Israel on Saturday were about 80. About 57 actually landed in Israel. It quotes the IDF saying 640 rockets were launched against us since November 14, with 410 actually landing. Those that did not are (we presume - Stratfor does not say this) either intercepted in mid-air or - as we noted above - fell short.
- It quotes an IDF statement that Iron Dome interceptors have so far successfully stopped 90 percent of the rockets "though this may be an exaggeration". Or not.
"Beyond rocket launch sites and caches, which Israel is currently targeting with its airstrikes, it would need to target production sites and those who would be responsible for manufacturing the rockets. Furthermore, it will be significantly harder for Israeli intelligence to form an accurate picture of the number of these rockets locally constructed in Gaza... Israeli intelligence likely did not anticipate how many long-range rockets had escaped its first wave of strikes, and the fact that Hamas may have been producing these weapons could explain Israel's lack of complete information. Hamas recognizes that these long-range rocket attacks have only increased the likelihood and intensity of an Israeli ground incursion. A significant ground force offers the Israelis the best chance of finding and neutralizing the factories making these long-range rockets as well as the shorter-range Qassams. Hamas and the other militants therefore are actively preparing their defenses for the anticipated incursion and are likely laying improvised explosive devices, setting up road blocks and defensive emplacements and sorting out their ranks and tasks."
"Al Qassam's operation #ShaleStones is going well in achieving historic goals, Liberation of occupied #Palestine started...we are coming #IDF