Hamas targets IAF jets with anti-aircraft, surface-to-air missiles

As IDF planes bombed a reported Hamas-run weapons and rocket manufacturing site, members of the terror group fired missiles at the jets, causing air defense sirens to wail throughout communities in southern Israel.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Hamas used anti-aircraft and surface-to-air missiles to target Israeli Air Force jets carrying out airstrikes on a rocket-making site in the coastal enclave, sparking concerns that an escalation between Israel and the terror group may be on the horizon.

After Israeli anti-terror raids in Jenin left several prominent terrorists from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group dead, officials from PIJ warned that Israel would “pay a price” for the operation.

Late Saturday evening, several rockets were fired from the southern Rafah region in the Strip towards civilian areas in Israel, sparking a retaliatory strike by the IAF on Hamas assets in Gaza.

Although a different Gaza-based terror organization, likely PIJ, is believed to have been behind the launch, Israel has repeatedly said that it holds Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from the Strip.

As the planes bombed a reported Hamas-run weapons and rocket manufacturing site, members of the terror group fired missiles at the jets.

These attempts to bring down IAF jets were unsuccessful, though the launching of the missiles did cause air defense sirens to wail throughout Israelis communities adjacent to the Strip.

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In a statement, the IDF confirmed that the site targeted by the airstrikes was a “workshop… used as a main site for making most of the group’s rockets in the Strip.”

The strike accomplished its goal of “progress to impede” the “build-up” of Hamas’ weapons cache, the statement added.

The rocket launches come just days after Hebrew language media reported that Qatar, a major funder of Hamas and source of financial aid to Gaza residents, had pressured terror groups not to escalate with Israel.

Qatar, which is currently hosting the World Cup, was reportedly concerned that a clash between Gaza-based terror groups and Israel could embarass the oil-rich Gulf Kingdom on the world stage, as it contends with negative publicity around its human rights record, accusations of bribery and corruption, and logistical errors in preparing for the soccer tournament.