In response to intensifying rocket attacks from Gaza, on November 14, 2012 Israel launched an aerial military operation in Gaza, code named Operation Pillar of Defense, targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist leadership and rocket launching and storage sites. A ceasefire, facilitated by Egypt and the United States, was reached on November 21.
On the first day of the operation, an Israeli airstrike killed Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, who Israeli security sources say was responsible for “all anti-Israel terror activity emanating from the [Gaza] Strip” over the past decade, including the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.
Over the eight days of conflict, Hamas intensified its rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians, lobbing 1,506 rockets. While the brunt of the attacks were in Israel’s south, Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets reached as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, with 3.5 million Israelis – nearly half of Israel’s population – under the threat of attack. Six Israelis were killed by rocket fire, and 240 were injured.
According to the IDF, 800 rockets made impact in Israel, while 421 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome – a U.S.-funded mobile defense system. 152 rockets fired from Gaza crashed back into Gaza.