Operation Summer Rain: IDF Enters Gaza
In what began with the Israeli Air Force knocking out three bridges to hamper egress routes and the destruction of a Gaza power plant likely principally to hinder communications, Israel launched Operation Summer Rain overnight in the southern sector of the Gaza Strip. With bulldozers clearing they way of mines and bombs, IDF armor rolled in, taking up positions at the non-functional Gaza International Airport in the extreme southeastern corner of Gaza, just a few miles from Rafah.
Hamas leader Nizar Rayan said over Palestinian radio as the incursion began, “Fight your enemies, who came to their deaths. Grab your rifles and resist.” He may have been unaware the contrast presented as the IDF had warned Palestinian forces to abandon the Gaza International Airport, which is precisely what the majority of them did. Israeli tanks and APC’s rumbled in with relative ease, though there was reports of some fire exchange.
The primary mission is clearly to find and extract Galid Shalit, the captured IDF soldier, and the apparent orders are to begin conducting house-to-house searches in the area, most likely to commence in earnest at first light. According to a report from Canada’s CTV in Jerusalem, “They’re saying that their objective now is to go into the Gaza Strip and do house to house searches if they have to in order to find the captured soldier.”
A logical secondary mission is to scour the Gaza-Israel border in the area for more tunnel entrances like the one that was used in the Palestinian attack that resulted in Shalit’s capture.
While the Israeli forces have been met with little resistance thus far, an IDF spokesman said that the operation will continue until Shalit is released. Said a Jerusalem post source, “We will stay here as long as necessary until we return with the kidnapped IDF soldier.”
Wednesday’s daylight will certainly bring increased activity and a sure spike in resistance.