As the rockets kept coming through Wednesday night – and the first three fatalities Thursday morning, Nov. 15 – the cautious lift in Israeli spirits generated by the death of Ahmed Jabari, who fashioned Hamas into a paramilitary machine of terror, and the destruction of dozens of missile sites in Gaza, gave way to resignation for a long haul before southern Israel is free of its decade-long rocket nightmare.
Thursday morning, a rocket from Gaza killed three Israelis in Kiryat Malachi. By then, some 120 rockets – mostly targeting the major towns of Beersheba and Ashdod, but also smaller locations – had followed Jabari’s death. Iron Dome intercepted 27.The first reserve units had been mobilized for possible ground action in Gaza to supplement the air offensive against the Palestinian missile arsenal.
But Operation Pillar of Cloud’s first part showed a favorable balance: Palestinian missile fire was as erratic as ever, although intense; Iron Dome filtered out the rockets aimed at Israel’s major towns; Israeli casualties were relatively low though painful; and the enemy in Gaza was decapitated – for now.