Israel military live-tweets air strikes

By Paul Harper

The Israel Defense Force has taken to social media to drum up support for its latest military operation in Gaza.

And the military wing of Hamas, the Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades, has returned fire on Twitter.

Earlier today the IDF launched the "Pillar of Defense" operation, killing the head of the Al Qassam Brigades, Ahmed Jabri, in a "pinpoint strike".

The operation was announced in a tweet, sent at 3.29am New Zealand time by the @IDFSpokesperson account.

"The IDF has begun a widespread campaign on terror sites & operatives in the #Gaza Strip, chief among them #Hamas & Islamic Jihad targets."

The message has been followed by other tweets justifying the military strikes and explaining the operation.

There have also been threats directed at Hamas.

"We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead," @IDFSpokesperson wrote.

This prompted a response from the official account of the Al Qassam Brigades, vowing revenge.

"@idfspokesperson Our blessed hands will reach your leaders and soldiers wherever they are (You Opened Hell Gates on Yourselves)"

The Al Qassam Brigades account is also tweeting details of its mortar attacks on Israel, and making the case for its own actions.

"#Israel's military still targeting civilians in #Gaza kills a child and fourty [sic] others #hamas #GazaUnderAttack #Egypt."

The IDF also has a Youtube account, and has already posted a clip of the assassination of Jabri.

Israel claims Jabri was a senior Hamas operative and was "directly responsible for executing terror attacks against Israel in the past".

In an effort to rally support behind operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF posted a message on its Facebook page, which it asked supporters to share.

"Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired more than 12,000 rockets at Israel in the last 12 years. Share this if you think Israel has the right to defend itself."
The photo has been shared more than 3,300 times. A similar post on Twitter has been retweeted more than 800 times.

The IDF's use of social media to push its message doesn't end there, with an IDF Flickr page including a gallery "Operation Pillar of Defense" photos.

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