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 the territory.

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 Strip.

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.


Click here for special JPost coverage

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 Islamic Jihad.

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.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger