(photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
After an informal ceasfire brokered by Egypt brought two days of relative quiet to southern Israel, rocket fire into the communities bordering the Gaza Strip resumed Friday night, prompting two separate Israel Air Force forays into the coastal territory to strike rocket launching terrorist cells.
The first IAF strike targeted a terror cell preparing to launch a rocket at Israel, killing one member of a pro al-Qaida fringe Salafist Islamist group and wounding two others at the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. The Palestinians had originally reported that the man was a member of the Popular Resistance Committees, a terrorist group that is often involved in rocket shooting into Israel.
Following the IAF strike on the cell, terrorists fired five rockets into Israel over the span of two hours on Friday night. No injuries or damage were reported in the attacks. Three rockets landed in the Eshkol Regional Council area and another landed in the Sdot Hegev Regional Council area. The fifth rocket, fired at the Ashkelon Coast Council area, prompted the IAF's second strike of the night in Gaza.
Immediately after the rocket was launched, IAF aircraft targeted the terror cell responsible for the launch, recording a direct hit. Palestinian sources said the strike hit a motorcycle in northern Gaza, wounding four Palestinians, one of whom was in serious condition. The man later succumbed to his wounds, marking the tenth Palestinian death from IAF strikes since hostilities began Monday, according to Palestinian sources. Minutes later a sixth rocket hit southern Israel, again in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council area.
More than 130 rockets have been fired into the South from Gaza since Monday, prompting Israel on Thursday to lodge an official complaint with the United Nations.
Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor complained to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that “the lives of about a million Israelis are paralyzed” by the projectiles.
Prosor stated that “as long as Israel’s southern communities will not know quiet, it will not be quiet in Gaza.”
He added that Israel fully cooperates with the UN, allowing civilian material and humanitarian aid into Gaza, “and in exchange weapons continue to flow into the Strip and rockets are fired into Israel."