Hamas missile launch pad next to mosque, playground. Civilian factories, gas station also half a block from Fajr-5 firing site. — By Aaron Klein

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TEL AVIV – A missile launch site in the Gaza Strip was set up by Hamas just half a block from a mosque and children’s playground, according to aerial photographs provided to KleinOnline by the Israel Defense Forces today.

Israel on Wednesday carried out a surgical strike of the site in question – a Fajr-5 missile launch pad established in the heavily populated Zeitoun district of Gaza to fire long range rockets into the Jewish state.

The photograph of the launch site, posted above, shows a children’s playground and a mosque located about a half a block away as well as two civilian factories and a gas station also within a half a block radius.

In a new development, Hamas today said it fired a rocket toward Jerusalem. Air sirens were heard in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Security sources confirmed one rocket had landed in an open area in a Palestinian village just outside Gush Etzion, a suburb located south of Jerusalem near Bethlehem.

Abu Abdullah, a spokesperson for Hamas’ so-called military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades,told KleinOnline today the rocket fired at Jerusalem was aimed at the Knesset, or Israel’s parliament.

Abdullah also claimed Hamas was targeting the official residence of Israeli President Shimon Peres with the Jerusalem rocket fire.

“This is not the end of the surprises we can have,” Abdullah said.

“In some circumstances, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will not be the last station of our targets.”

Also today air raid sirens were blasted in Tel Aviv and an explosion could be heard.

Defense sources said a missile landed in an open area and that it did not strike ground.

No injuries or damage were reported in Tel Aviv.

Yesterday, the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad group claimed responsibility firing Fajr-5 missiles aimed at Tel Aviv.

Also yesterday, one rocket launched from the Gaza Strip landed in Rishon Letzion, some 7 miles south of Tel Aviv.  About three hours later another explosion was heard in the Tel Aviv area. Defense sources said the second explosion was a missile that landed in an open area.

No casualties were reported in either the Tel Aviv or Rishon Leztion areas.

Sixty-seven rockets fired from the Gaza Strip struck Israel on today. The country’s Iron Dome system intercepted 55 more rockets before Shabbat started today.

In all, 335 rockets have struck Israel since Operation Pillar of Defense began two days ago.

Earlier today, three Israeli civilians were lightly injured when a rocket hit the Eshkol Regional Council region near Gaza. Yesterday three Israelis were killed by a direct rocket hit on their family home in the Gaza border town of Kiryat Malakhi. A four year old Israeli boy and an infant were moderately wounded in separate rocket attacks.

Meanwhile, Israel today took preparations for a possible ground operation into Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces said over 16,000 reservists have been mobilized, out of the 30,000 approved by the Israeli government

The IDF told KleinOnline the Paratrooper and Givati Infantry brigades have completed what they say are final preparations for a potential ground operation. The forces are currently outside Gaza on standby awaiting orders.

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