I have been asked to keep my readers posted on what is happening, so I will attempt to add short updates as often as I can. I will also link these updates into my initial post about the operation from last night, which seems to be going viral.
This morning, November 15th, three Israeli civilians were killed in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi by a direct hit from a Hamas rocket. They are Mira Sharf, aged 25 and mother of three, Aharon Smadja, aged 49 and Itzik Amsalem, aged 27. Mira Sharf’s husband and three children were also wounded in the rocket attack. Two of the funerals have already taken place and the third will be held tommorow.
During the day, the IDF continued to destroy dozens of Hamas military targets in Gaza in precision strikes.
Meanwhile, schools in the south were closed today. A number of weddings which were supposed to take place in the area had to be cancelled or moved at the last minute.
This evening, Hamas fired rockets at the city of Rishon Letziyon and a siren was heard near Tel Aviv at around 19:30. This is the most northerly point that Hamas has hit so far. Some news reporters described this as a “new escalation”, but to say that would imply that the blood of Tel Aviv’s residents is more important than the blood of the residents of Kiryat Malachi or Sderot. Rocket fire at any Israeli city is unacceptable.
The emergency sirens for warning residents of rocket attacks are called “code red”. Many radio stations have been anouncing “code red” during their broadcasts along with the name of the towns in which the siren has been sounded. I was on the road this evening. Code red broke through the music every few minutes.
If “code red” is sounded where you are, you must proceed as quickly as possible to the nearest bomb shelter. Citizens have between 15 seconds (Sderot and the towns adjacent to the Gaza strip) to 2 minutes (Tel Aviv area) to reach safety. If you are driving and cannot reach a bomb shelter in time, the home front command has issued instructions to stop the car safely at the side of the road, and lie on the ground with your hands over your head.
Shortly before midnight, the IDF announced that it had eliminated three Hamas commanders in another pinpointed attack in Gaza.
As for the continuation of the operation, the government has given the IDF permission to recruit 30,000 reserve soldiers, which would most likely mean a ground invasion of Gaza. In Israel, men serve for three years and women serve two years of mandatory army service (with a few exceptions, which I have written about in the past). After being discharged, they become part of the IDF’s reserve troops and may be called up for reserve service. Reserve service can take up to as many as 30 days every year, emergencies such as this one not included.
Read other updates on Operation Defensive Pillar: