Hamas sources: IDF strike destroyed secret rocket plant

The heavily damaged building was emptied by security forces while keeping civilians and the press away.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The early Saturday morning IDF retaliatory strike in Gaza hit one of the terrorist organization’s most important secret projects, a senior Hamas source told Israel Hayom Sunday. The plant, which was hit  along with other military targets, produced advanced rockets and improved the accuracy and range of its old rocket arsenal.

The airstrike caused a huge explosion at the site that shook nearby Gaza City. Hamas security forces swooped in as soon as possible to close off the area to civilians and the press, and brought in a truck to empty the plant of any contents that were left.

A Ynet report said that secondary explosions from the contents of the plant caused some damage to several buildings in the area, including factories, a children’s hospital and an institution for those with special needs.

It is possible, said the report, that the terrorist organization that rules Gaza set up the rocket-making factory near these civilian facilities in the hopes of deterring an Israeli strike.

According to Israel Hayom, Hamas is blaming Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) members for firing the two rockets Friday evening from the Gaza Strip at the southern city of Ashkelon that brought about the Israeli counterstrike. The Hamas sources told the daily that the action was taken against the understandings reached between the terror organizations in the coastal enclave, and that the launch was not approved by the PIJ command.

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No organization has yet taken credit for the attack, but as the ruling entity, Israel always holds Hamas responsible for any attack launched from its territory.

“Hamas is responsible for the actions carried out from and inside the Gaza Strip, and it will bear the consequences for all terror emanating from Gaza against Israeli citizens,” the IDF said after the strike. The IDF “is ready and prepared to act with determination against attempts to harm Israeli citizens and against Israeli sovereignty.”

The rockets targeting Ashkelon were successfully shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. Three Israelis were lightly injured while running to shelter and a few others were treated for shock.