Hamas keeps up terror in the south with rockets, aerial firebombs

Palestinian terrorists fire three rockets at Israel as arson balloons ignite more fires in communities adjoining Gaza Strip.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired three rockets at Israeli towns early Monday morning, sending tens of thousands of Israelis running for bomb shelters as the Hamas terror group said Israel would “pay a heavy price” for blocking Palestinian violence in Jerusalem.

The IDF Spokesperson’s office confirmed that three rockets were fired in the direction of six Israeli communities just before 6:30 Monday morning. One of the rockets was intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system and the other two missed their targets and exploded in open areas. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

Once radar detects a rocket launch and determines the trajectory, the Red Alert alarms are triggered in the cities and towns in the path of the rockets. Residents in towns and cities near the Gaza Strip have only 15 seconds to seek shelter before the short-range rockets used by Palestinian terrorists explode.

The Iron Dome system is programmed only to intercept rockets that may hit populated areas, but given the extremely short time span involved, sirens are triggered in all communities along the flight path. In the past 20 years, terrorists in Gaza have fired over 20,000 rockets at Israeli towns and cities that have killed at least 28 people and wounded hundreds, while causing millions of dollars in property damage.

The IDF said that in response to the rocket fire, IDF tanks attacked Hamas military positions in the Gaza Strip.

In an apparent move to gain popularity points with Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and interrupt Jerusalem Day celebrations in the capital, Hamas leaders voiced their support for Arab rioters confronting Israeli police in Jerusalem.

Hamas spokesman Mohammed Hamadeh said that Israel “will pay a heavy price as a result of its incursion into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its worshipers,” after police in Jerusalem were forced to use riot control methods to disperse Arabs who had stockpiled rocks and bottles to hurl at police and at Israelis gathered at the Western Wall below the mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Following the ongoing attacks that have seen more than 50 rockets fired at Israel in the past two weeks and scores of aerial firebombs sparking blazes, Israel on Monday closed the Erez border crossing with Gaza except for humanitarian cases as well as the Gaza offshore fishing zone.

The moves were taken “following the rocket fire and the continued launching of incendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, which constitute a violation of Israeli sovereignty,” said a statement from the COGAT civil administration. “The terrorist organization Hamas bears responsibility for everything that is done in and out of the Gaza Strip against the State of Israel, and it will bear the consequences of the violence perpetrated against the citizens of the country.”

Residents of the area in southern Israel surrounding Gaza braced for another day of tension after firefighters and volunteers had to extinguish some 40 brush fires that were ignited Sunday by aerial firebombs launched from Gaza.