IDF says that Palestinian rockets hit inside Gaza, causing fatalities


The IDF said yesterday that errant Palestinian rocket fire and not Israeli missiles were responsible for a deadly explosion in a public garden and another blast near a hospital in Gaza.

Yesterday afternoon, an explosion struck a playground in the Al-Shati refugee camp and Palestinian reports say that 10 people including eight children were killed. Shortly afterwards, a separate blast was reported near the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, although no fatalities were reported.

The Israeli army rejected Hamas claims that an Israeli drone had caused the explosions, instead explaining that it had been the result of errant rocket fire by Palestinian groups. The IDF said via social media, “A short while ago, terrorists in Gaza fired rockets at Israel. One of them hit Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. The other hit Al-Shati refugee camp.” IDF Spokesman Peter Lerner explained, “The Israel Defence Forces did not carry out any strikes in that area. Shifa Hospital was not a target, nor was the Shati Beach camp.” The IDF added that since Operation Protective Edge was launched three weeks ago, approximately 200 rockets and mortars fired by Palestinian terror groups at Israel have fallen short and landed in Gaza.

Yesterday evening, the IDF sent messages warning Gaza residents to immediately evacuate to central Gaza City from the neighbourhoods of Shejaia, Zeitoun and western Jabalia, in what may be an indication of a further Israeli military advance. The Israeli army warned residents via recorded voice messages and text messages.

Overnight, the IDF struck 150 targets in Gaza during the night, including the home of Hamas political chief Ismael Haniyeh. Israel Radio news reports that Ahmed Najam Abu Hamda, the commander of Islamic Jihad in Rafah was killed overnight. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said that 16 Palestinians were killed in air strikes last night in south and central Gaza and that more than 1,000 Gazans had died during Operation Protective Edge.