Friday, September 18, 2015

Israeli Jets Bomb Gaza Strip After Rockets Fired At The South

Israeli jets bomb Gaza Strip after rockets fired at south

Israeli Air Force jets bombed targets in the northern Gaza Strip early Saturday morning following rocket fire at cities in southern Israel.

The IDF said in a statement that Israeli planes struck three targets in the northern Gaza Strip. Local reports identified the locations as near the Gaza Strip town of Jabaliya.

Earlier, the Israeli Navy reportedly fired on targets in Gaza, according to Walla news.
The reported strikes came shortly after Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired at the southern city of Ashkelon on Friday night, hours after a similar attack saw a rocket strike open land in a residential area of Sderot.

The interception was the first since last summer’s war between Israel and armed Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip last summer.

Local residents reported hearing loud explosions in the Ashkelon area shortly before midnight. There were no injuries reported in the attack. The Israel Defense Forces were investigating whether there were any strikes on Israeli soil, Channel 10 television reported.

A Palestinian Salafist group affiliated with the Islamic State took responsibility for the rocket attacks shortly after midnight on Saturday. The Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigade has claimed a number of rocket attacks against Israel this year in defiance of Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
Israel Police said that a bus was damaged in the Sderot strike, while the Ynet website reported that a home was also damaged. The residents were inside at the time of the strike, Ynet said, adding that several people were treated at the scene for shock. One woman was taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon after complaining of chest pains and ringing in her ears, the website reported.

The sirens sounded at around 8:45 p.m. Friday night in southern Israeli communities along the Gaza border, after Israeli defenses identified two rocket launches from the coastal strip.

Air raid sirens sounded in Sderot and nearby communities, Channel 10 television said. The Home Front Command confirmed the rocket launches and instructed local residents to enter their protected areas.

The attack followed a day of clashes in Jerusalem between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters.

The Israeli Air Force struck three terrorist infrastructure sites, including a Hamas run telecommunications facility in the North of Gaza, early Saturday morning in response to multiple rocket attacks from the coastal enclave the previous day. 

The IDF Spokesperson's Office released a statement saying that the IDF viewed the rocket attacks on Israel with the utmost severity and that it would not tolerate attempts to harm Israeli citizens. 

The IDF said that Hamas was responsible for the attack.  

Just before midnight Friday evening, an Iron Dome anti-rocket battery shot down a Gazan rocket over the southern city of Ashkelon.

There were no injuries or damages, the IDF said.

Warning sirens rang out across the city, sending residents fleeing for cover, before Iron Dome went into action. It was the second rocket attack by terrorists in Gaza within a few hours.

A Salafist organization affiliated with Islamic State calling itself "The Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigade" took responsibility for the rocket attack on Ashkelon after posting a statement on Twitter. 

And earlier Friday,  a Palestinian rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip exploding in Sderot, causing damage to a home and a nearby bus.

Rocket sirens sounded in the western Negev town as well as surrounding localities shortly after sunset as Jews in Israel sat down for Sabbath dinner.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a rocket exploded in Sderot, causing damage but no injuries. A bus in the southern city sustained damage in the attack.

The IDF added that it detected a single rocket launched from Gaza.

According to reports, the rocket struck the front yard of a home in Sderot, causing light damage to the residence and a bus that was parked nearby. There are believed to be no injuries.

The Egyptian military on Friday morning began pumping sea water into the underground cross-border tunnels dug between its Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip in what appears to be a renewed campaign to stamp out terror activity along the border.

Palestinian security officials told the German news agency DPA the operation was part of an effort to stop cross-border smuggling by Islamist militants to and from the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

According to the report, large pipes extending from the Mediterranean Sea flooded the Sinai-Gaza border area with sea water, enabling Egyptian officials to destroy the tunnels without having to know their exact locations.

Officials announced last month that the area would be flooded and would eventually be converted into 18 fish farms along the 14-kilometer border with Gaza, making the digging of new underground tunnels impossible.
The Sinai Peninsula is a bastion of the jihadist group Sinai Province, formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. The organization has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Up until a number of years ago, Egypt tolerated a smuggling industry, allowing hundreds of tunnels to bring in goods like cigarettes and spare motorbike parts, as well as weapons, into Gaza. These tunnels were a lifeline for Hamas, which collected millions of dollars in taxes and revenues from the smuggled goods. They continued to thrive after longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 and the Islamist Mohammed Morsi won the country’s first free presidential election.

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