'Hamas arrests two in connection with Gaza rockets'

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
March 22, 2013 23:01

Israel Radio: Hamas arrests members of Salafi organization after they claim responsibility for rocket attacks during Obama visit.

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Rocket fired from Gaza that landed in a home in Sderot, March 21, 2013.

Sderot rocket during Obama visit 390. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Hamas on Friday arrested two members of an Islamic jihadist organization in connection with the firing of rockets from Gaza into southern Israel on Thursday, Israel Radio reported.

The report cites Gazan sources as saying Hamas arrested two members of the Salafi Magles Shoura al-Mujahddin organization, who on Thursday claimed responsibility for firing rockets into Israel. In an Internet statement the group said it had fired the rockets to show that Israeli air defenses could not stop attacks on the Jewish state during Obama’s visit.

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Palestinian terrorists launched rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel Thursday morning – the second day of US President Barack Obama’s visit – and in response, newly appointed Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon restricted the fishing area to three miles from the Gaza coast and closed a cargo crossing point.

One projectile hit and damaged a home in Sderot. A second fell in an open area of the neighboring Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. Initial reports spoke of four rockets, two of which are believed to have landed within the Gaza Strip.

There were no injuries.

The US president, who was in Jerusalem, about 80 km. from Sderot, when the rockets hit, later told journalists it was up to Hamas, which controls Gaza, to stop such strikes.

“We condemn this violation of the important ceasefire that protects both Israelis and Palestinians, a violation Hamas has a responsibility to prevent,” Obama said on the next stop on his visit, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

A police bomb squad and emergency officials arrived at the two blast zones to retrieve the projectiles and document the damage. It was the second ceasefire violation by terrorists in two months. On February 26 a rocket from the Gaza Strip struck a road south of Ashkelon, causing damage but no injuries.

The clampdown on coastal fishing that came in response to Thursday’s attack reduced the open zone to three miles from six. It canceled the expansion that had been in place since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense of last year.

The border crossing that was closed was the Kerem Shalom cargo terminal. The IDF’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit added that the Erez pedestrian terminal at the northern end of the strip had been ordered to reduce its level of operations.

Returning crossings to their normal levels of activity would be conditioned on security assessments, COGAT added


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