Rocket sirens wail in Israel for second night in a row

Incoming rocket-fire sirens were activated in communities bordering the northern Strip at 9 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights.

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August 18, 2019 13:18
3 minute read.

Rockets intercepted by Israel

Rockets intercepted by Israel

Three rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel for a second night in a row on Saturday night hours after Israel Air Force jets struck several targets in the Strip on Friday night.

Incoming rocket sirens on Saturday sounded in Sderot and several communities in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council at 9 p.m. The military said that two of the three projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

The city of Sderot and Israel Police said that shrapnel from the third Qassam rocket launched from the Gaza Strip landed in the yard of a home in Sderot. A 30-year-old woman was treated by Magen David Adom paramedics after she fainted at a bus stop during the barrage.

Overnight on Friday, fighter jets and other aircraft struck two underground terrorist infrastructures belonging to Hamas in northern and central Gaza following the launching of rockets toward southern Israel, the military said.

“The attack was carried out in response to the rocket fire launched from the Gaza Strip earlier this night,” read a statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, adding that “the IDF will continue to work against attempts to harm Israeli civilians and considers the Hamas terrorist organization responsible for everything that is done in and that comes out of the Gaza Strip.”

According to local Palestinian media, Israel targeted a Hamas outpost in the Tuffah district of Gaza City as well as targets in the city of Jabalya and Khan Yunis.

Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhum said the Israeli airstrikes were “aimed to divert attention from the brave actions in the West Bank,” referring to a vehicular ramming attack outside Elazar that critically injured two Israeli siblings.

“The Israeli shelling of the resistance positions in Gaza is a message of escalation and aggression, aimed at diverting attention from the courageous actions taking place in the West Bank, which have confused the enemy and deepened the internal crisis in which it is located,” he said.

Earlier on Friday, explosions were heard in southern Israel after incoming rocket sirens were activated in several communities bordering the northern Gaza Strip. Sirens were heard in Sderot, Or Haner, Erez, Gva’im and Avivim at 9 p.m.

While the IDF said that one rocket was launched from Gaza toward southern Israel and was intercepted by the Iron Dome, Palestinian media said that three rockets were fired and two landed in open territory.

There were no reported injuries or damage.

The rocket fire came as tensions have risen in the south following several violent infiltrations along the border fence. In less than two weeks, six armed Palestinians were able to infiltrate into Southern Israel before being engaged by IDF troops and killed.

On Sunday, Israeli troops shot and killed 26-year-old Marwan Nasser after he opened fire on them while trying to infiltrate the border. No Israelis were hurt in the incident and surrounding communities were not placed under increased security.

During his funeral, Nasser was seen wearing a green bandanna associated with Hamas’s military wing, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades.

The incident came 24 hours after IDF troops shot dead four heavily armed Palestinians attempting to infiltrate with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), AK-47 assault rifles and grenades.

While the military hasn’t yet determined which group was behind the foiled attack, they put the responsibility of the attack squarely on Hamas.

The four terrorists were identified as former Hamas members – 21-year-old Abdullah Ismail al-Hamaida, 19-year-old Abdullah Ashraf al-Ghomri, 20-year-old Ahmad Ayman al-Adeini and 21-year-old Abdallah al-Masri – from Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

On August 1, an IDF officer and two soldiers were injured and a Hamas militant was killed in an exchange of fire at the border in the area of Kissufim in southern Israel.

He was identified as Hani Abu Salah, a member of Hamas’s border patrol and the brother of Fadi Abu Salah, a disabled Palestinian man who was killed by IDF fire during one of the weekly “March of Return” protests along the border last May. He had been wearing a uniform and was armed with grenades and a Kalashnikov rifle when he infiltrated into Israeli territory from the southern edge of the Hamas-run enclave.

Approximately 70,000 Israelis reside in more than 50 communities in the Gaza border area. There has been a marked increase of people moving to the area over the past five years following Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

However, over the past year, there have been 10 rounds of violent conflict with the last round of violence in early May seeing more than 700 rockets fired toward southern Israel, killing five civilians.


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