Rocket barrages also targeted Ashkelon, Sderot and other towns in the Gaza Envelope.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
Arabs cheered at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate as they watched a Hamas rocket reach the Jerusalem area on Monday evening around 6:00 p.m. Between six and seven rockets were fired in the barrage, which was directed at Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, located approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) west of the capital.
Air raid sirens were heard in both cities and the distant sound of Iron Dome explosions.
No injuries were reported as one rocket struck an outlying settlement in the Jerusalem area, hitting along the town’s outer ring of homes but not striking any houses. However, the blast sent glass shattering into nearby buildings.
The missiles have not led to the cancellation of Jerusalem Day events, including a major parade that began late Monday afternoon.
Around the same time as the rocket strike, an anti-tank missile was fired from the Gaza Strip at a civilian vehicle. Fortunately, the driver wasn’t hurt having been outside the car or able to extricate himself before the missile hit. Such attacks are rare events and the last time a civilian was killed by such a missile was in May 2019.
Rocket barrages also bombarded Ashkelon, Sderot, the area of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, and other places in the Gaza Envelope, the area surrounding the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The Gaza Envelope is bearing the brunt of the attack and there are reports of ongoing rocket launches.
The IDF sent a warning earlier in the day to residents in the south, indicating the army had intelligence that Gaza’s terror groups planned an attack. People are staying near shelters. The average time to get to shelter once a red alert sounds is 15 seconds.
Hamas is linking its attack to Israel’s actions on the Temple Mount, or the Al-Aqsa Mosque in its words. It wants to send the message to Jerusalem’s Arabs that it will defend them. A senior Hamas official told Gal Berger, Palestinian Affairs reporter for Kan News, that Hamas won’t stop until Israel retreats from Al-Aqsa. Israeli police were forced to enter the Temple Mount plaza on Monday to deal with Arab rioters.
The question that is unanswered is how Israel will react. There are numerous plans already prepared. It is up to the political echelon to pick one and give the IDF its marching orders. However, there is a possibility, according to Kan’s Berger that Israel will absorb the attack without a response. Berger says Hamas sees that Israel is reluctant to enter another round of fighting and it may be that the terror group is betting on this fact, which would explain its willingness to risk a major confrontation.
Gaza news sources are also reporting that three children were killed in the northern Gaza Strip by Israeli rockets. However, these reports are unconfirmed.