The escalation of violence over the Gaza-Israel border continued overnight with armed groups in Gaza firing four Grad rockets at Israel, one hitting a school in the Eshkol area. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) targeted weapons stores and firing sites, hitting one member of an armed group about to fire a rocket, and killing another Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander. Last night’s fire follows three days of escalation over the Gaza-Israel border. Around 150 rockets have been fired at Israel, with Israel responding by targeting rocket firing crews, weapons stores and firing sites, and intercepting rockets with its Iron Dome defence system.
The escalation was triggered by an Israeli airstrike on Friday which targeted and killed Zuhir al-Qaisi, the commander of the Palestine Resistance Committees (PRC), an armed group in the Gaza Strip that was planning a terror attack on the Israel-Sinai border. Around twenty Palestinian members of armed groups are reported killed in Israeli airstrikes. Gazan authorities report that two civilians have also been killed, including a 12 year old boy, and others wounded. Four Thai immigrant workers in Israel were wounded by mortar fire from Gaza on Friday. A school in the Beersheva was hit on Sunday, but was empty. Up to a million Israelis live within range of the rockets. Many are spending time in bomb shelters, with school closed for a second day for 200,000 Israeli children.
So far the IDF has had considerable success in targeting the armed groups firing the rockets and in intercepting rockets heading for populated areas with the Iron Dome defence system. Israeli analysts are speculating that the peak of this round of violence may have passed, with the firing of rockets from Gaza declining on Sunday compared to Saturday. However, the situation remains highly unstable and significant loss of life on either side could see violence escalate again.