Reported Truce Halts Rocket Barrage on Southern Israel

February 25, 2020

by: Kate Norman

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The Iron Dome missile defense system in Ashdod intercepts a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip (illustrative)

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 | After a tense round of fighting in which terrorists fired more than 90 projectiles from Gaza into Israel, a tentative cease-fire has taken hold in the more than 12 hours since the last rocket was fired.

On Tuesday afternoon the Home Front Command reopened roads and trains it had closed as a safety precaution, but schools in southern Israel remained closed for the day as a precaution after an empty kindergarten playground was struck by a rocket the day before.

There were no serious injuries among Israelis during the onslaught, as Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system reportedly took out 90% of the rockets headed for population centers, though a few people sustained light injuries while scrambling for the nearest bomb shelter.

Although the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has a longstanding policy of holding Hamas—the terror group in charge of the Gaza Strip—responsible for any attacks on Israel from the coastal enclave, this latest round of fighting was attributed to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—Gaza’s second largest terror group, which is backed by Iran.

The latest round of fighting began early Sunday morning when PIJ militants approached the border with Israel to plant an explosive device. The IDF fired at the terrorists, killing one and injuring the other. The Israeli military then retrieved the body with a bulldozer and took it into Israeli custody as part of Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s new policy of keeping bodies of terrorists killed in action to use as bargaining chips to negotiate the return of Israeli prisoners and bodies of Israeli soldiers held in the enclave.

PIJ was enraged and vowed revenge, which manifested later in the day with the first round of rockets fired. The IDF retaliated by striking PIJ targets in Gaza and in Syria, where the terror group’s headquarters are located. The infuriated terror group fired more rockets, leading to a two-day clash.

“Islamic Jihad indiscriminately fired at Israeli civilians today,” the IDF asserted when it announced on of its retaliatory attacks on Twitter, showing a surgical strike on a PIJ target. “We precisely struck a rocket launcher that they used.”

PIJ fired more rockets, leading to back-and-forth strikes until PIJ leaders reportedly asked multiple Israeli officials for a ceasefire, an anonymous Israeli security official told the Times of Israel. The ceasefire reportedly went into effect last night at 11:30—less than half an hour after the last rocket was fired into the Jewish state.

Before the round came to an end, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a strict warning to Israel’s enemies on Monday while touring an Iron Dome battery near Ashdod, one of the cities in southern Israel under rocket attack over the past two days.

“Yesterday we attacked on several fronts,” Netanyahu declared. “We attacked in Syria. We attacked in Gaza. We are continuing to strike now with jets, tanks and helicopters.”

“We will continue to strike until quiet is restored,” he warned. “I have a message for the heads of the terrorist organizations: If quiet is not restored—you are next in line.”

Posted on February 25, 2020

Source: (Bridges for Peace, February 25, 2020)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/Nehemia Gershuni/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com