Gaza terrorists fire rocket at Israel, IAF retaliates

For the third time in two weeks, an ISIS-linked group fired rockets at Israel from Gaza. The IAF retaliated with an air strike on a terror target. 

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
Hamas rocket

A Gaza terrorist fires a missile at Israel. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)

Terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS) in Gaza fired one rocket at Israel’s civilian populace late Saturday night, sending some 140,000 citizens running for shelter. The rocket fell in an open field, causing no casualties or damage.

This is the third rocket attack in the past two weeks and the sixth since Operation Protective Edge ended last summer.

In retaliation, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) attacked a terror target in the northern Strip early Sunday morning. There were reported casualties in the air strike.

In addition, Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon ordered the shutdown of the border crossings between Israel and Gaza, allowing its opening only in humanitarian cases.

The IDF stressed that it views the Hamas terror organization as the sovereign power in Gaza and holds it responsible for all rocket fire emanating from the Strip.

Mayor of Ashkelon Itamar Shimoni, whose city was attacked, called on the government to act. “This is the Israeli government’s moment of truth. This is no longer an issue of a mistake or sporadic fire, but the blatant breach of the ceasefire. The calm that we thought would last in our area after Operation Protective Edge dissipated quicker than we expected, and we must not accept such a reality. This is the moment to change this,” he declared, saying he trusted the government and its leader to accept the proper decisions in the coming days.

Moshe yaalon

Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon (R) during a military exercise. (Ariel Hermoni/MOD)

A Jihadist Salafi group that supports ISIS again claimed responsibility, after having taken responsibility for two previous attacks. The group is mired in a power struggle with Hamas and threatened to carry out further attacks until Hamas stopped persecuting its members.

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The group announced on Twitter that they fired the rocket in protest on behalf of its members, who are being held in Gaza jails, as well as those conducting hunger strikes in Israeli prisons.

A day before last Wednesday’s rocket attack, Hamas security forces killed an ISIS member and the group issued Hamas a 48-hour ultimatum to end its crackdown on the Salafis.

According to Israel Radio, just hours before the attack on Saturday, a Salafi leader called for continued rocket fire on Israel.