Islamic Jihad Militants launch rocket in Gaza 521.
(photo credit: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
IDF identified a rocket launching cell in the southern Gaza Strip Sunday
afternoon as terrorists were preparing to launch a rocket toward
Israel, despite a reported cease fire with Islamic Jihad. IAF planes struck the cell, preventing the rocket from being launched.
rocket fired from Gaza explodes near BeershebaIron Dome
battery moved south after Gaza-rocket
Islamic Jihad, which has taken responsibility for the majority of some 39 rockets fired at Israel from the Strip in the past 24 hours, said late Sunday morning that it was committed to a cease fire agreement, although it asserted it reserved the right to respond to any Israeli attacks, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.
The attempted rocket launch mid-Sunday afternoon, however, cast doubts on the lasting power of the agreement. It was not clear if Islamic Jihad or another terrorist group in Gaza was responsible for the attempted launch.One Palestinian was killed and another seriously wounded in the IDF strike, Palestinian news sources reported.The
second attempt in as many hours to implement an Egyptian-brokered cease
fire went into effect at around 7 a.m. Sunday morning, but the latest
rocket launching attempt cast doubts on that agreement as well.
Following the 6 a.m. deadline for the earlier cease fire attempt, four rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Two of the rockets exploded in open areas causing no damage and two were intercepted by the Iron Dome rocket defense system. The last rocket was fired at 6:40 a.m, the IDF Spokesman's Office said.
IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said that the IDF "wasn't waiting
for any decision" by the Islamic Jihad, referring to reports of a ceasefire. He
added that the army had been ordered by IDF Chief of General-Staff Lt.-Gen.
Benny Gantz to prepare a number of responses that had been prepared by the
Gantz has been receiving updates throughout the day on
land-based and aerial defense systems, and approved a number of operations
designed to intensify the IDF's response to rocket fire.
pinpoint plans to strike terrorist infrastructure - and more than that,"
Mordechai said. "Until now, the IDF has harmed the Islamic Jihad's rocket
manufacturing and firing infrastructure, including a senior member who was
responsible for these things," he added.
Responding to the rocket fire, the
IAF struck six targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Saturday. In the
northern Gaza Strip it hit a terror tunnel and three rocket launch
sites, and in the southern Strip it attacked two centers of terrorist
activity. Nine Palestinian terrorists were killed in the strikes.
IDF will not hesitate to act decisively and forcefully against anyone
who uses terror against the citizens of Israel, until quiet returns to
area. Hamas is a terrorist organization and bears the responsibility,"
light of the rocket fire, schools, learning institutions
and day care centers located between seven and 40 kilometers from the Gaza Strip
will be closed Sunday, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor
Studies in locations between zero and seven
kilometers from the Strip will be held, but only in protected rooms. In
addition, the Home Front Command prohibited any public gatherings with
more than 500 people. The Home Front Command also asked people who live within 40 kilometers of the
Gaza Strip to stay near structures protected against rockets.
Saturday, 35 projectiles, including Grads and mortar shells, were fired
at southern communities, hitting built-up areas in Ashdod, Ashkelon and
regional councils across the region. A number of the rockets caused
extensive damages to buildings.
wave of rockets came after the IDF, working with the Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency), identified and struck an Islamic Jihad rocket cell in
Gaza earlier on Saturday, killing five terrorists, including senior
Islamic Jihad commander Ahmed Sheikh Khalil, who was responsible for the
group’s considerable rocket production facilities.
said the cell was the same one that fired the unprovoked long-range Grad
that struck near Rehovot last week. That rocket was supposedly launched
to mark the anniversary of the 1995 assassination in Malta of Islamic
Jihad leader Fathi Shikaki, the first person to publish a booklet that
legitimized suicide in jihad.
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Shaul Mofaz said
Sunday that Israel should continue striking Islamic Jihad in the Gaza
Strip, saying it must restore its deterrence capabilities.
must bring back its deterrence capabilities that it lost," Mofaz told
Israel Radio. Doing so, he said, "is the only way to stop the rocket
Israel cannot allow terror organizations in the Gaza Strip
to take southern Israel's residents hostage whenever it feels like it,