Israel bombs Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rocket attack

For the second time in a week, an ISIS-linked group fired rockets at Israel from Gaza. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned that Israel will strike hard.   

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
Police rocket

A Police sapper inspects the remains of a rocket fired from Gaza. (Israel Police)

Israel Air Force (IAF) fighter jets attacked three Hamas terror targets in the Gaza Strip early Thursday in response to three rockets that were fired from Gaza at civilians in southern Israel on Wednesday evening. No casualties or injuries were caused by the rockets.

Hamas announced there were no casualties in the attack after they had evacuating their posts earlier in anticipation of the retaliation.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon stated that Israel will not allow sporadic rocket fire from Gaza to resume, noting that even if the rocket fire was carried out by members of rogue groups from the global jihad, Israel holds Hamas responsible for what is happening in the Strip.

“I suggest that Israel’s patience towards terror not be tested,” Ya’alon warned. “We will not compromise on the security of Israel’s citizens, and if required, we will hit harder.”

“When the sirens sounded this evening in Israel more than 140,000 Israeli lives were at jeopardy. Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live normal lives, but instead Hamas chooses to use the Gaza Strip as a launch pad for rocket attacks,” said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner. “The IDF will act against the aggression, will act against those that wish to terrorize Israel and will act to protect Israelis in the line of indiscriminate Gaza rocket fire.”

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Last Wednesday, a long-range Grad rocket was fired at Israel from Gaza. It was the third rocket fired from the Strip since the beginning of 2015 and the first long-range rocket fired since Operation Protective Edge last summer.

ISIS in Gaza threatens more attacks

A Salafist terror organization linked with the Islamic State (ISIS) took responsibility for both of attacks that took place within a week, adding that the latest was in revenge for the death of one of its members killed by Hamas on Tuesday.

The ISIS-linked organization also announced Thursday morning that it plans to fire more rocket attacks on Israel “within 12 hours.”

“We have made it clear we will proceed with the Jihad [religious war] against the Jews, the enemies of Allah. No one will stop us from carrying out our duty to attack the Jews,” the terror group stated.

ISIS’ threat:

Hamas, the terrorist organization that has ruled Gaza with an iron fist since 2007, perceives ISIS as a threat to its control of the Strip and has been combating the group. A day before Hamas security forces killed the ISIS member, the group had issued Hamas a 48-hour ultimatum to end its crackdown on the Salafis.

Hamas spokesman Eyad Al-Bozum said Tuesday that a 27-year-old man died “during an attempt to arrest him.” According to Al-Bozum, the man refused to surrender, opened fire at Hamas forces and planted explosives in the house where he was holed up.

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Hamas blames local ISIS loyalists for a recent string of explosions that have targeted Hamas security posts. ISIS perceives Hamas as a heretical group, accusing them of being soft on Israel and failing to impose Sharia religious law, and has plans to dispose of them and gain control of the Strip, thus broadening ISIS’ caliphate in the Middle East.

The Gaza Strip may be on the brink of total anarchy, but even so, Israel considers Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for any attacks originating from the area it controls.

AP contributed to this report.