Thanks to a successful use of misinformation, Israel managed to catch Hamas off-guard on Saturday and kill over 200 of the terror group's members in a massive aerial attack on the Gaza Strip.
The strike was described by local media as Israel's version of "shock and awe," as a fleet of 60 attack aircraft simultaneously destroyed 50 targets across the Hamas-controlled territory. All of the targets were Hamas command centers, bases and weapons storage facilities.
According to numbers released by the Palestinians, some 215 Hamas terrorists, including a number of senior commanders, were killed in the strike, and hundreds more were wounded. Tens more Hamas members were killed as the Israeli air forces kept up the pressure on Sunday.
Despite the scale of the attack, Israel managed to keep civilian casualties to just 15 dead.
Israeli military and political officials attributed the success of the strike to their ability to mislead Hamas by feigning disunity over how to respond to days of incessant terrorist rocket fire on southern Israel. Defense Minister Ehud Barak even ordered the border crossings between Gaza and southern Israel opened on Friday despite the terrorists hitting Israeli communities with 25 rockets during the previous 24 hours.
The Israeli media was also credited for playing along with the ruse, which resulted in Hamas members gathering in large numbers at facilities across Gaza unaware of the looming threat.
Gaza-based terrorists fired over 80 rockets at southern Israel on Saturday afternoon and overnight in response to the Israeli attack. One Israeli was killed and seven others were wounded when several of the rockets scored direct hits on family homes. One of the victims was listed in critical condition.
Israeli officials said the terrorist response would have been much worse if not for a follow-up wave of some 20 Israeli aircraft killing most of the Hamas forces that rushed to their rocket launchers immediately after the Israeli bombs dropped.
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