Three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel late yesterday evening, prompting Israel’s Air Force to respond by striking three Gaza terror sites.
Rocket warning sirens sent residents hurrying for cover in Israeli towns and communities near the Gaza border shortly after 11pm. The rockets landed in open areas of the Sdot Negev region and did not cause any injuries or damage. A radical Salafist group called the Omar Brigade, which is sympathetic towards ISIS said that it fired the rockets. A statement by the group said, “We are continuing with our jihad against the Jews, the enemies of God.” However, it made clear that yesterday’s rockets were fired in response to Hamas’s killing of an ISIS supporter in Gaza on Tuesday. Hamas has recently cracked down on ISIS elements in Gaza, blaming them for a series of recent explosions.
Israel holds Hamas responsible for actions in Gaza and soon after the rocket attack launched air strikes targeting three terror installations including a Hamas training site in central Gaza. No injuries were reported. IDF spokesman Peter Lerner said, “We will act against the aggression … and will act to protect Israelis in the line of indiscriminate Gaza rocket fire.”
Last week, a Grad rocket from Gaza landed near Ashdod, in the first instance of mid-range rocket fire since last summer’s Operation Protective Edge. The previous month, a rocket from the Gaza Strip landed in the Shar Hanegev region of southern Israel, only the fourth such incident since last summer. An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire brought an end to the 50-day conflict and has largely held firm, but Israel has consistently made clear it will not tolerate rocket fire.
Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, “We will not agree to go back to a reality of trickles of fire and next time, if there is a next time, we will respond with even greater strength.” Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog commented, “The sources of [rocket] fire and the enemies of Israel must be attacked with all severity and strength.”