Photo: Reuters

IDF strikes Hamas targets in retaliation for rocket fire

Palestinian-Islamists launched another barrage of rockets from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip towards Israel’s southern communities over the weekend.

Air raid sirens blared in the city of Sderot and the area surrounding the Palestinian enclave at 8:55 PM Saturday evening. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit later confirmed that three projectiles were fired from Gaza toward Israeli territory; two of which were intercepted by the nation’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. The third rocket is believed to have exploded in an uninhabited area. No injuries or damage were reported.

IDF fighter jets and helicopters retaliated for the attacks by striking a number of Hamas terror targets in the northern Gaza Strip. The Israeli military reiterated in a statement that it “holds the Hamas terror organization responsible for events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it,” while further underscoring that “Hamas will bear the consequences for actions against Israeli civilians.”

The Islamist Hamas organization did not immediately respond to TV7’s request for comment. In a statement to the press, however, the internationally-recognized terror group issued a statement regarding the recent meetings its Political Bureau head Ismail Haniyeh held with top Egyptian intelligence official Maj.-Gen. Abbas Kamel. The talks were also said to have included additional Hamas officials, as well as from the Islamic Jihad and other Jihadist factions in Gaza. While the details of the discussion remain unpublished, the statement confirmed that a long-term ceasefire arrangement between Gaza and Israel topped the agenda, highlighting that “The resistance movements voiced their deep appreciation to the role played by Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations to broker the ceasefire understandings (with Israel) and their efforts to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian people.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the Islamist-Hamas organization that “there will be no arrangement” unless it immediately there is an immediate cessasion of rocket fire from the Palestinian Strip. “On the issue of Gaza, I would like to clarify,” said the Israeli leader, “there will be no arrangement if the firing continues.” He further stressed, “On the contrary, the terrorists in Gaza will yet feel blows from our arms,” pointedly adding, “What they absorbed three weeks ago in Operation Black Belt, in which we targeted the leader of Islamic Jihad and dozens of militants from the organization, was just for starters.”

Netanyahu then revealed that he has instructed Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and the IDF to “prepare accordingly.” While the Israeli Premier declined to provide additional details, he reaffirmed that “We will continue to guard the security of Israel.”