Government increases cap of reservists for possible ground operation in Gaza from 30,000 to 75,000; thus far, IDF issued 16,000 draft orders to reserve troops.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the IDF’s request on Friday evening to increase the maximum number of reservists it could enlist, seeking cabinet approval to mobilize up to 75,000 troops ahead of a possible Gaza ground operation.
On Friday morning, as Operation Pillar of Defense continued for a third day, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz issued draft orders to 16,000 out the 30,000 reservists the cabinet approved Thursday. Most of the reservists called up thus far serve in the IDF’s Engineering Corps.
The engineering corps would play a vital part in any ground operation into the Gaza Strip, enabling armored vehicles to move across the border into Gaza. The IDF operation to root out terror in the coastal territory has consisted of air raids on terror targets thus far.
IDF: Tonight will not be calm in Gaza
The IAF assassinated Ahmed Abu Jalal, a senior commander in Hamas‘s military wing, in and air strike on Friday evening It also hit another car in the strike, and killed two additional Hamas operatives, both members of the Abu Jalal family. The IDF warned that its activities would continue into the night on Friday, warning Hamas to take cover.
“Terrorists in Gaza should hide. Tonight won’t be calm in Gaza,” IDF spokesman Yoav Mordechai said. “We’re hitting hundreds of rocket launchers in waves of air strikes, including right now.”
The IDF also revealed on Friday that it had taken out Hamas’s nascant drone program.
The military recently focused its intelligence efforts on a group of Hamas terrorists who were developing and producing drones designed to strike fortified targets in Israel.
The terrorists were under the instruction of Iranian technical instructors, and the ‘production team’ carried test flights in Gaza of the drones.
The IAF struck the test flight sites in recent attacks.