Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Iron Dome Intercepts Rockets Headed Into Israel, IDF Tanks Fire At Syrian Target, Retaliate For Shelling

Iron Dome intercepts three rockets from Sinai headed for Eilat

The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted three rockets headed for the southern city of Eilat late Wednesday night, while a fourth fell in an open area, the army said.

This fourth rocket was not shot down by the missile defense battery as it was headed towards an open field, a military spokesperson said.

There were no injuries or damage reported from the rocket salvo. However, city officials said that five people were treated for anxiety attacks related to the incident. One of them was taken to the hospital, the Magen David Adom ambulance service told Israel Radio.

The rockets were fired from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but the Islamic State affiliate Ansar Bait al-Maqdis — formerly known as Wilayat Sinai — has been waging a bloody battle with Egyptian forces in the peninsula.
Hours before Wednesday’s attack, a mortar shell struck the Golan Heights, at Israel’s northern tip, causing neither damage nor injury.
In response, the army shelled a Syrian military position in the northern Golan Heights, the army said.

The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system activated late Wednesday night to intercept three incoming missiles that were fired from the Sinai Peninsula at the Red Sea port city of Eilat.
A total of four missiles were fired at Eilat, the IDF said. One landed in a relatively open area, causing no property damage. Shrapnel landed in a swimming pool.
The Iron Dome system’s three intercepts neutralized what otherwise would have been a deadly impact on the residents of the southern Israeli city.
It is not yet clear which terrorist group attacked Israel from the south. A high alert has been declared across the region.

The IDF has retaliated with tank fire against a military target linked to the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad. IDF soldiers identified a hit, according to military sources.
Late Wednesday evening a Syrian mortar shell exploded in northern Israel, near the border with Syria in the Golan Heights.
No casualties or property damage was reported, the IDF said. It is believed the shelling came as a result of “spillover” from the civil war that continues to rage in Syria.
Nevertheless, the IDF spokesperson said, “The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israel’s sovereignty nor the security of its citizens, and sees the Syrian regime as responsible for all that happens within its borders.”

Iran has reportedly test-fired another missile on Wednesday, just days after a series of warnings from the Trump administration that it was “on notice” for previous missile tests and that a military response to such actions was under consideration.
According to a Fox News report, a US official said the test on Wednesday was of a short-range surface-to-air missile, called Mersad, which impacted 56-kilometer (35 miles) away.
The test came a week after Iran also tested a 4,000-kilometer (2,500-mile) ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, as well as a home-made cruise missile with the same capabilities, acts which prompted an emergency UN Security Council session, US outrage and an Israeli demand by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reimpose sanctions.
The US on Friday announced that it was sanctioning more than two dozen people and companies from the Persian Gulf to China, in response to the missile tests, which sparked a war of words between Iran and the US.
Trump said last Thursday that “nothing is off the table,” when it came to a potential military response as House and Senate Republicans backed a tougher line on Tehran. His National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, had in a press conference last week said Iran was “officially on notice” following the missiles tests, which the White House contends violate a UN Security Council resolution proscribing missiles that could carry a nuclear device.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday warned the US not to threaten Iran with sanctions, saying American President Donald Trump’s brow-beating would see a response in the coming days.

“Trump says fear me! No. The Iranian nation will respond to your comments with a demonstration on the 10th of February,” Khamenei said in a speech to military officers in Tehran on Tuesday. “They will show others what kind of stance the nation of Iran takes when threatened,” he said.

His comments came in the wake of Trump’s statement to reporters on Thursday about whether a military response to Iran was under consideration, following Tehran’s illicit ballistic missile test.

“Nothing is off the table,” Trump replied, borrowing a phrase Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has used for years vis-à-vis Tehran’s nuclear program. Days earlier, a top US administration official had said Iran was “on notice.”

Khamenei also responded to Trump’s tweet of February 3, which said: “Iran is playing with fire — they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them.”
The leader ridiculed the idea of being grateful to former president Barack Obama, saying he was the one who placed “paralyzing sanctions” on Iran.

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