In response to months of sustained Hamas rocket attacks, the IDF kicked off its Gaza military operation this morning by dropping a missile onto Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari’s car. From the Israel Defense Forces Twitter feed, a fair warning to any of the late Jabari’s comrades who may have been thinking about taking a drive later today:
We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) November 14, 2012
One thing that sets this military campaign apart from similar ones in the past is what you see above — the IDF’s very active social media response. The Israeli government was clearly prepared for a media operation as well as a military one this morning, and immediately began putting out information on Twitter and YouTube, including this video footage of the ultra-precise Jabari strike. In fact, the IDF Twitter stream has been busy all day. Clearly it makes it difficult for Hamas and Hamas sympathizers to claim Israel is intentionally targeting civilians, and for the left to claim Israel is reckless about civilian casualties, if clips like this are made public.
The Israel Project has more on the campaign, which also appears aimed at depleting Hamas weapons stockpiles:
Washington, November 14 — Responding to months of rocket barrages by Hamas-led terror groups targeting more than a million Israeli civilians, the IDF today launched a widespread campaign targeting military infrastructure and operatives in the Gaza Strip. The campaign has been identified by Israeli military officials as “Operation Pillar Of Defense,” and began with a pin-point strike targeting Ahmed Jabari, the commander of Hamas’s military wing and a terrorist linked to hundreds of terror operations over the span of decades. …
Early reports indicate that in addition to targeting Hamas’s senior military leadership, Israel is specifically seeking to degrade Hamas’s stockpiles of these and other advanced weapons. Media outlets are reporting that the Israeli Air Force struck a suspected stockpile of advanced Fajr 5 missiles smuggled into the Gaza Strip from Iran. The weapon’s use in 2006 by Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanese proxy, had constituted a major escalation during that year’s Lebanon II war with Israel.
Israel is calling it “Operation Pillar of Defense” in English, and “Operation Pillar of Cloud” in Hebrew. The Hebrew name is a reference to the “pillar of cloud” that led the Jewish people through the desert in Exodus.