Israel strikes Gaza and closes crossings in response to continued rocket fire

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon gave orders to close all crossings between Israel and Gaza except for humanitarian purposes.

June 7, 2015 04:18
2 minute read.
iaf aerial show

IAF planes fly during an aerial show over the Mediterranean Sea as seen from a Tel Aviv beach, as part of Independence Day celebrations, April 23, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Israel struck a terrorist site in northern Gaza and sealed two border crossings with the Strip on Sunday in response to the latest rocket fire targeting the country’s South.

The Israel Air Force launched an overnight air strike Saturday night, hours after a Gazan rocket triggered sirens in Ashkelon and Hof Ashkelon before exploding in an open area.

There were no injuries in the rocket attack or the retaliatory strike.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon instructed the IDF to shut down the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings to Gaza and to only allow humanitarian traffic to move across them, the army announced Sunday morning. They will be reopened in line with future security developments, it said.

A radical Islamist group calling itself the Omar Brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket attack, according to Israel Radio. On social media, a Twitter account belonging to the Salafi-jihadi Omar Brigades took responsibility, saying the rocket was fired to protest the imprisonment of its members by Hamas and to support security prisoners conducting hunger strikes in Israeli prisons.

According to Israel Radio, just hours before the attack, a Salafi leader called for continued rocket firings at Israel in order to disturb the relative calm.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who reiterated at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday that Israel holds Hamas responsible for all rocket fire from Gaza, also accused the world of hypocrisy in its nonexistent reaction to the recent attacks.

“I didn’t hear anyone in the international community condemn this rocket fire, and even in the UN no one is opening their mouth,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see whether this silence will continue when we act in full force to defend ourselves,” he added. “Let it be clear, the hypocrisy spreading in the world will not tie our hands and prevent us from defending Israel’s citizens. This is how we acted in the past and how we will continue to act.”

A cease-fire has been in place between Israel and Hamas since August 26, 2014, when a 50-day conflict between them ended.

On Thursday, the Israel Air Force struck Hamas targets in the coastal enclave in retaliation for two rockets fired into the South – an attack also claimed by the Omar Brigades.

The radical group said it fired at Israel in response to Hamas killing an Islamic State supporter during a recent raid on his home.

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