by: Kate Norman
Thursday, 16 January 2020 | The tentative calm between Gaza and Israel was broken yesterday when terrorists in Gaza fired four rockets at Israeli communities bordering the enclave, prompting retaliatory strikes from the Jewish state on terror targets in the Gaza Strip.
There were no Israeli casualties or damage caused as Israel’s Iron Dome defense system intercepted two of the rockets and the other two landed in open fields where they caused no harm.
In response, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fighter jets targeted several sites belonging to Hamas—the terror organization in control of the Gaza Strip—that included a weapons manufacturing site and a military compound, the IDF announced.
“The IDF sees the shooting at Israel’s territory very severely, and will continue to act as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli civilians,” the military said on its website. “The Hamas terror organization is responsible for what is happening in and out of the Gaza Strip and it will have consequences for actions against Israeli citizens.”
Yesterday’s rocket attack was unusual as it took place in broad daylight—around 3:30 p.m., the end of the school day. Most of Gaza’s rocket attacks take place in the evening or the middle of the night. The rockets set off the Code Red alert sirens in the communities near the border, sending hundreds of Israelis scrambling for the nearest bomb shelter.
Later in the day, police were dismayed to find a cluster of balloons tied to a suspicious item had landed in Sderot, a city located less than a mile from the Gaza Strip. The object was most likely an incendiary device—a tactic used by terrorists in Gaza to burn thousands of acres in Israel over the past few years, especially in the dry Israeli summers when the fires spread more quickly.
Though Hamas bore the brunt of retribution, an Israeli broadcaster attributed the rocket attack to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second largest terror entity operating in Gaza. An offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and backed by Iran, PIJ almost makes Hamas look diplomatic. The jihadi group frowns upon Hamas for being willing to enter into negotiations with the Jewish state—the sworn enemy for the terrible twosome.
PIJ was responsible for the flare-up in November that saw more than 450 rockets fired into Israel. Hamas notably spent most of the two-day battle observing from the sidelines, which Israeli leadership saw as a victory for its policy of deterrence and holding Hamas responsible for any attacks on the Jewish state emanating from the Gaza Strip.
Perhaps Israel is again betting on its punishment policy to force Hamas to quiet its feisty PIJ brother in order to avoid further IDF retribution.
Both groups—but especially PIJ—rely on Iran for funding, weapons and military training. Hamas mourned the passing of Iran’s top general, Qassam Soleimani, who was killed in a US strike earlier this month. Two of Hamas’s top leaders even traveled to Tehran for his funeral and eulogized their doting puppet master.
Hamas and PIJ both received strict warnings from Israel, the Times of Israel reported, not to channel their grief into attacks on the Jewish state—a close ally of the US and often a vicarious target for those who won’t directly attack American targets.
Yesterday’s rockets were most likely an act of defiance against that warning, a salute of sorts to the fallen terror chief.
Posted on January 16, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 16, 2020)
Photo Credit: Dima Vazinovich/Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com
Photo License: flickr.com
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