Iran is encouraging the Islamic Jihad terrorist group in Gaza to
continue firing rockets against Israel, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav
Mordechai said on Sunday.
According to Mordechai, since the beginning of the violence on Friday,
150 rockets have been fired by Palestinian terror groups, although 40
landed inside Gaza and another 37 were intercepted by the Iron Dome
counter-rocket defense system. "Iran finances Islamic Jihad and supports
it with weaponry," Mordechai told reporters. "In these days, the
Iranians are supporting them and actively encouraging them to continue."
Mordechai said that while Hamas was not actively firing rockets into
Israel, it is viewed as the ruling authority in Gaza and is therefore
held responsible by Israel for terrorist attacks that originate inside
Earlier in the day, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz convened a meeting
of the General Staff and instructed the Southern Command to utilize
intelligence collected by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), and
Military Intelligence to continue striking targets throughout the Gaza
According to assessment within the IDF, Islamic Jihad is increasingly
frustrated with its failure to exact a heavy price from Israel despite
the large number of rockets it has fired. As a result of this
frustration, the IDF predicts that the Islamic Jihad will escalate its
rocket fire in the coming days.
In general, short-range rockets fired into Israel are done so by members
of the Popular Resistance Committees, the leader of which was
assassinated by Israel on Friday as he was plotting an attack along
Israel's border with Egypt. The longer range rockets such as those fired
towards Ashdod as well as the ones destroyed the Israel Air Force in
underground launchers hidden throughout Gaza on Sunday, are fired by the
In addition on Sunday, the IDF recorded an increase in the number of air
strikes it carried out during the day. Gantz also ordered the IDF to
continue operating against terrorist targets in Gaza despite efforts
that are underway by European diplomats to obtain a ceasefire between
Israel and the terrorist groups in Gaza.