image Photo: Flash90

Surge in Israeli-Gaza tensions

Terrorists from the Islamist Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have launched multiple attacks in recent days, prompting heavy IDF retaliation.

By Erin Viner

The Israeli army reported machine gunfire from Gaza into an open area in the southern part of the country yesterday. No casualties or injuries were caused in the latest incident.

Two Hamas rockets exploded into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of central Israel on Saturday. Israel responded immediately with strikes on “terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. Hamas Radio reported that several of the group’s security posts and a training camp were struck by Israeli aircraft and tanks, with no casualties.

Israel rejected Hamas claims reportedly conveyed by Egyptian intermediaries and reported by the Hamas-affiliated Paltimes website that the rockets had inadvertently been launched due to a weather-induced malfunction.

“Last night, the Israeli Air Force carried out strikes on a series of targets in a Hamas rocket manufacturing complex in Khan Yunis. This is our response to the rocket fire yesterday from the Gaza Strip to the shores of the Mediterranean,” said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, adding, “Additionally, the IDF targeted a number of Hamas positions on the Gaza border.”

“I want to make something clear: All of Hamas’ stories about lightning and thunder, that repeat themselves winter after winter — are no longer relevant,” Prime Minister Bennett underscored, stressing, “Those who aim missiles towards the State of Israel will bear the responsibility.”

Hamas Al Aqsa TV reported the firing of 2 surface-to-air missiles at Israeli aircraft during the counter-attack. The IDF confirmed that a missile had been launched at one of its planes, but said it missed its intended targeted and caused no damage.

Last Wednesday, an Israeli civilian contractor was lightly wounded by gunfire from Gaza while working on the security barrier with the lawless Palestinian enclave. The IDF retaliated with tank and artillery fire at Hamas military posts, wounding three Palestinians.

The Israel-Gaza frontier has been largely quiet since the 11-day Operation Guardian of the Walls conflict last May.