The IAF bombed a Hamas military target in response to rockets fired at Israel. Is a full-blown conflict looming?
By: World Israel News Staff
Israel’s Air Force (IAF) on Saturday night targeted a Hamas observation post in southern Gaza in response to rockets launched on Friday at the Sha’ar HaNegev and Sdot Negev regional councils in southern Israel.
No one was injured in the attack on Friday, but a structure was directly hit and damaged. The IDF identified three launches from Gaza, and the Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted two of the rockets.
The rockets were fired during a birthday ceremony held in honor of Oron Shaul, an IDF soldier killed during Operation Protective Edge whose body is held in by Hamas in Gaza.
“These rockets violated moral and humane standards,” the IDF stated on Friday.
Immediately after the attack, IDF tanks and IAF aircraft targeted two posts belonging to Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip. Hamas said there were no injuries in the strikes.
Intelligence reports estimate that the rockets fired in recent weeks were launched by terror groups other than Hamas. However, Israel holds Hamas, which rules the Strip, accountable for all attacks.
The IDF stated Saturday that the rockets launched Friday by a Gaza terror organization were standard-grade Iranian weapons. In an outstanding statement, the IDF blamed Iran for being behind the recent attacks.
Iranian regime puts Gaza residents in ‘grave danger’
“This is a severe incident that proves once more how much these terror organizations despise the residents of Gaza and are willing to put them at risk of escalation over Iranian interests,” the IDF charged. “The Iranian regime continues to risk the safety of the residents of the Gaza Strip and puts them in grave danger. Wherever the Iranian regime operates or is involved, it only wreaks havoc and destruction.”
The past month has seen a significant spike in rocket attacks launched by Gaza-based terror organizations at Israel. Over 30 rockets were fired over the past month, close to the total of rockets launched since the summer of 2014.
The IDF believes that Hamas is enabling the rocket fire, launched by small terror groups, on orders from Tehran, which is seeking to create friction in the area.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) Quds Force Commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani pledged all of Iran’s “capabilities and potential” to Hamas in a phone call with the group’s leader last week.
Hamas leader Yahye Sinwar said that the general assured him, “All our of capabilities and potential are at your disposal in the battle for the defense of Jerusalem.”
Soleimani, according to Sinwar, added, “Iran, the Revolutionary Guards and Quds Force stand with all they have with our people in order to defend Jerusalem so that Jerusalem will endure as the capital of the state of Palestine.”
Sinwar said that Soleimani was in touch with the leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Hamas, which has complete political and military control over Gaza, has been trying to mobilize violence against Israel since US President Donald Trump recognized of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earlier this month and declared his intention to move the US embassy there.
Liberman: Hamas doesn’t care about Gaza
Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman held an interview with the IDF’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) on Thursday, during which he addressed the rapprochement between Iran and Hamas and the situation in the Gaza Strip on the eve of 2018.
Referring to the latest reports on the strengthening of relations between Hamas and Iran, Liberman said that after the Iranians succeeded in destroying Yemen, Sudan, Lebanon and Syria, they have begun to destroy Gaza.
“The heads of the regime in Tehran are not interested in the reality in Gaza and the future of the children there. They are interested in extremist ideology and as much as possible to harm the State of Israel,” he said.
“After the Iranians come to the Gaza Strip, no international entity will invest a single penny there, and after Operation Protective Edge, we are willing to enable the international community to build multi-billion dollar projects in the Gaza Strip, but with Iran as the main entity in Gaza, no one is willing to invest,” he added.
In addition, Liberman referred to the corruption of Hamas’ leaders. Yahya al-Sinwar and Salah al-Aruri are no more than salesmen of Iran’s Shiites inside the Gaza Strip and live a luxury life, he said, while the lives of the residents of the Gaza Strip do not interest them at all.
“Salah al-Aruri lives under Hezbollah’s patronage in Lebanon, he travels all over the world and enjoys luxury hotels, and as far as he is concerned, there is no better salary, no better conditions than the ones he is enjoying today. He does not represent the residents of the Gaza Strip” Liberman said.
Liberman said that Marwan Issa, head of the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization, and Yahya Sinwar, head of the Hamas in the Gaza Strip, enjoy electricity 24 hours a day, although 99 percent of Gaza residents have an average of four to six hours a day.
Addressing the residents of Gaza directly, Liberman said, “I suggest you think about your children, their future, and start pressing Hamas leaders to change direction. Right now it’s a flight to nowhere, but if you change the direction, believe me, you’ll build a good future here,” he said. “For your children, start putting pressure on the Hamas leadership.”