The Israel Defense Forces said Saturday it had killed a Hamas battalion commander responsible for several deadly attacks against both civilians and soldiers, as it continued to pound terror targets in the Gaza Strip and prepare for an expected ground offensive in the enclave’s south.
At the same time, Gaza rocket fire at Israel continued, with projectiles fired at Tel Aviv on Saturday evening for the first time since November 20.
Rocket sirens sounded across a wide swath of central Israel, and a young man was lightly hurt in Holon from shrapnel.
The IDF said it was investigating after footage showed an Iron Dome interceptor missile failing and crashing in central Israel during the rocket barrage. There were no reports of injuries as a result of the incident.
“The possibility that an interceptor [missile] fell in the country due to a technical malfunction is being examined,” the IDF said in response to a query on the matter.
Earlier in the day the army said it carried out “extensive” strikes against Hamas in south Gaza Friday overnight and into Saturday, while calling on Palestinians to evacuate from areas near the Israeli border, indicating ground operations in the southern part of the Strip were due to start soon.
In a statement Saturday morning, the IDF said it carried out airstrikes against over 400 targets across the Strip in the past day since fighting resumed. Ground, air and naval forces were all involved in the operations.
The military said fighter jets attacked over 50 targets in the Khan Younis area in “extensive” strikes in the southern part of the enclave.
At the same time, the IDF announced that a senior officer missing since October 7 was killed that day and his remains were being held by Hamas in the Strip. Col. Asaf Hamami, 41, the commander of the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade, was recognized as a “fallen soldier held by a terror group,” the IDF announced.