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Weekend of Rocket Launches from Gaza

September 13, 2021

by: Ilse Strauss

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Rockets launched from Gaza (illustrative)

Monday, 13 September 2021 | Air raid sirens blared intermittently throughout Israeli communities on the Gaza border over the weekend as terror groups in the coastal enclave fired rockets on southern Israel for three consecutive evenings.

The weekend’s barrage started shortly before 11 p.m. on Friday with a single rocket fired from Gaza, sending thousands of civilians scurrying for the safety of a bomb shelter. The Iron Dome system intercepted the projectile midair and no injuries or damage were reported. The aggression prompted a swift response from Israel, with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying out strikes on terror targets in the Strip late Friday night and into the early hours of Saturday morning.

Saturday night saw a near repeat performance, with Palestinian terrorists firing another rocket on southern Israel, triggering sirens, an Iron Dome interception and a prompt IDF retaliation.

Gazan terrorists upped the ante for Sunday night’s attack with one rocket fired earlier in the evening and another hours later early Monday morning. The Iron Dome system intercepted both rockets, and the IDF struck various terror targets, including the entrance to a terror tunnel as well as a heavy gun trying to take down the Israeli warplane, in retaliation.

The three nights of back-and-forth fighting marks the worst violence since the 11-day May battle between Israel and Hamas-led terror groups in Gaza. Tensions between Israel and Hamas have, however, been rising steadily over the past weeks, fanned in part by the collapse of an agreement that would have seen Qatari cash once again flow freely into the embattled enclave.

Over the past three years, Israel has permitted Qatar to transfer millions through Israeli crossings into Gaza. In exchange for the cash streaming through the open borders, Hamas pledged peace, which leads to the belief that Qatari funds are vital to maintaining a tense calm between Israel and its Islamist neighbors.

However, in the weeks after the May skirmish, Israel imposed heightened restrictions that saw the flow of Qatari cash slowing to a trickle. Moreover, Jerusalem refuses to allow the resumption of the transfer of funds under the terms that existed before the May battle, since they claim the funds were not used strictly for humanitarian purposes but rather to arm terror groups.

Seeking an alternative means to funnel the cash to Hamas, Qatar sought to use Palestinian Authority (PA) banks as a vehicle. However, the Qatari envoy to Gaza confirmed on Saturday that its cash coffers are once again closed after the PA backed out of the deal.

The flames of tension were also fanned by the manhunt for six Palestinian security prisoners—the majority of whom are members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second largest terror group in the Strip. Four of the escaped prisoners have been recaptured, with the hunt continuing for the remaining two. PIJ has vowed to avenge any harm coming to its fugitive members.

Early Sunday evening, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi appealed to the Gazan terrorists’ better judgment, urging calm. “The IDF defends the Gaza border and will not accept any violation of sovereignty,” he warned. “We vigorously respond to every violation and we shall continue to do so. If the situation escalates, Hamas and the Gaza Strip will pay a heavy price.”

The Gazan terrorists answered by firing two more rockets.

The Israeli powers-that-be are allegedly not optimistic that the terror groups in Gaza will head the warning. According to the Times of Israel, the Qatari funds present a major sticking point, with leaders in Jerusalem expecting Hamas to step up violent altercations in a bid to pressure Israel to capitulate to its demands, a strategy it has employed a number of times in the past. In fact, according to Channel 12, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett sees the next round against Hamas as a matter of when, not if, and believes that it might take place as early as within the next few weeks.

Posted on September 13, 2021

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 13, 2021)

Photo Credit: IDF/Flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

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