Thursday, June 21, 2018

IAF pounds Gaza after mortar salvo hits border communities - Nikki Guttman and Israel Hayom Staff

by Nikki Guttman and Israel Hayom Staff 

Israeli fighter jets target 25 Hamas positions after terrorists fire some 45 projectiles at Gaza-vicinity communities • Iron Dome defense system intercepts seven rockets

An IAF strike on a Hamas target in the Gaza Strip, Wednesday
Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

Israeli fighter jets struck 25 Hamas positions in ‎the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Wednesday ‎morning in response to a heavy barrage of mortar ‎shells and rockets fired from the coastal enclave at ‎border-adjacent communities. ‎

Three Hamas operatives were wounded in one airstrike in ‎southern Gaza, the Palestinians said. ‎

Video: Reuters

Dozens of Color Red alerts blasted through the ‎Eshkol, Hof Ashkelon, Sdot Negev and Shaar Hanegev ‎regional councils between 2:30 a.m. and 5:50 a.m., ‎as some 45 projectiles were fired at the area, in one of the worst flare-ups on the border in weeks. ‎

The military said the Iron Dome defense system ‎intercepted seven rockets. Five projectiles landed ‎in communities in the Eshkol Regional Council – one ‎near a kindergarten – causing some property damage, ‎the IDF said. At least three landed on the ‎Palestinian side of the border, and the others ‎landed in open areas in the western Negev.‎

IDF / Twitter

‎"The Hamas terrorist organization targeted Israeli ‎‎civilians throughout the night with a severe rocket ‎‎attack and is dragging the Gaza Strip and its ‎‎civilians down a deteriorating path," the IDF ‎Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement. ‎

‎"In response to the rockets fired throughout the ‎‎night, IAF fighter ‎jets targeted 25 terror targets ‎in ‎the Gaza Strip. The IDF holds Hamas responsible ‎for everything that transpires ‎in the Gaza Strip and ‎it will be held accountable for ‎deliberately ‎targeting Israeli civilians."‎

Prior to the rocket salvo, the Israeli Air Force ‎targeted a Hamas military compound in southern Gaza ‎in retaliation for Tuesday's bout of kite terrorism, ‎which set 20 fires in Israeli communities near the ‎border. ‎

‎"The IDF is prepared to defend Israeli civilians and ‎will increase its activity as necessary," the ‎military tweeted.‎

IDF / Twitter

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum praised the rocket ‎‎fire, saying the Palestinians had "a legitimate ‎‎right by which bombing is met with bombing." He ‎‎refrained, however, from claiming responsibility for ‎‎the rocket barrage on behalf of Gaza's rulers. ‎

Over the past week, the IDF has been trying to ‎generate deterrence vis-à-vis Gaza-based kite ‎terrorists, targeting Hamas positions and incendiary ‎kite cells in an effort to curb the phenomenon, ‎which has reduced thousands of acres of forest and ‎‎‎‎agricultural ‎land on ‎the Israeli side of the border ‎‎‎‎into ash, causing ‎‎‎tens of millions of ‎shekels in ‎‎damage and affecting ‎‎‎‎every community in the area.‎

However, hedging that Israel would prefer to avoid a ‎full-fledged military campaign, Hamas decided to ‎strike back, launching one of the most intense ‎rocket volleys in recent weeks at Israel's south. ‎

After consultations, the defense establishment‎ ‎decided to order the Gaza-vicinity communities to ‎resume their normal routine, especially in the ‎area's schools. Farmers working near the border were ‎instructed to coordinate their activities with the military. ‎

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot called a ‎situation assessment Wednesday, after which a ‎defense official said that "if Hamas keeps trying to ‎change the rules of the game, we are ready for a ‎large-scale operation in Gaza." ‎

The official said that Hamas is misreading the ‎situation and warned that Israel will no longer ‎tolerate incidents of kite terrorism, even if ‎countering the phenomenon means a conflict with ‎Gaza. ‎

Nikki Guttman and Israel Hayom Staff


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

No comments:

Post a Comment