Smoke rises after an IAF airstrike in Gaza 311 (R).
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
The IDF struck targets in Gaza from the air and land on Monday in response to a
barrage of more than 30 rockets and mortar shells fired by Hamas and Islamic
Jihad at farming districts in the South.
An army source said one target
hit included a Hamas position hidden inside a mosque in southern Gaza. A tank
directed fire at the location.
The army source added that Hamas often
uses “religious sites as cover for its terrorist activities against
The Eshkol Regional Council was bombarded with some 30
Palestinian rockets and mortars on Monday morning. Local residents reported
awakening to the sounds of explosions and rushing for cover in safe rooms
designed to protect them from the projectiles.
Ronit Minaker, spokeswoman
for the Eshkol Regional Council, said that residents received SMS messages and
heard alarms beginning at around 6 a.m.Monday morning. They listened to
dozens of strikes on the area over the course of around an
The strikes began at the same hour of the morning when
local children usually wake up, and on Monday they were required to spend the
first few hours of their last day of the holidays waiting in bomb shelters,
Minaker said. She added that residents received instructions to stay within 15
seconds of a protected area.
The council will hold a meeting on the
situation later on in the day, Minaker said, adding that the strikes hit land
belonging to three different communities, causing damage to a house, a road and
The residents had become accustomed to a long period of
quiet in the area, Minaker said, and the communities were hosting tourists and
other visitors when the strikes began.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they
targeted the rural district as a response to an Israeli air strike on Sunday
night, which struck and seriously injured two members of an al- Qaida-inspired
terror cell as they rode on a motorcycle.
The two men, Talat Jarbi, 23,
and Abdullah Makawai, 24, were in the final stages of preparing a large and
complex terrorist attack on Israelis, and were plotting on launching it from the
Sinai Peninsula, the IDF said.
Makawai is a member of the Ashura Council
of Holy Fighters on the Edge of Jerusalem, an al-Qaida inspired organization
based in Gaza. Talat was involved in previous rocket fire on Israelis, planting bombs and building weaponry, the
IDF said. He was also a senior planner of the June 18 cross-border terror attack
from Sinai, which killed an Israeli civilian, and took part in the attack, the
Both were severely wounded in the air strike on Sunday night.
Palestinian medical sources said eight others were hurt in the attack, including
The air strike was the product of a joint effort by the
Shin Bet and the Israel Air Force. It is unrelated to the intrusion of a hostile
drone into Israeli airspace on Saturday