45 Rockets Fired at Israel Overnight, IDF Attacks 25 Hamas Targets
Written by Yona Schnitzer/TPS on June 20, 2018
Five missiles hit towns around the Gaza Belt district overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday as Palestinians from the Gaza Strip fired dozens of projectiles at civilian communities in Israel. At least 13 rockets landing in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries were reported, but, several buildings and cars were damaged in the attacks.
In response to the missiles and also to ongoing launching of burning kites at Israel, the IAF struck 25 Hamas targets in the Strip in three separate waves, first in response to the kites and the second two being in response to the rocket fire. The military said Hamas training facilities and munition storage sites, including a subterranean training compound, were hit in the counter attack. Palestinian sources in Gaza have reported that four people were injured by shrapnel in the Rafah and Khan Yunis areas, but the lack of further casualties is most likely the result of the IDF targeting empty sites.
“In response to the rockets fired throughout the night from the Gaza Strip at Israel, IAF fighter jets targeted approximately 25 terror objectives in the Gaza Strip thus far,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement. “The Hamas terror organization targeted Israeli civilians throughout the night with a severe rocket attack and is dragging the Gaza Strip and its civilians down a deteriorating path. Hamas is responsible for everything that transpires in the Gaza Strip and will bear the consequences for deliberately targeting Israeli civilians.”
On Wednesday morning, Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid addressed the situation, Tweeting, “a night of fire down south: 30 missiles fired at Gaza Belt towns, and three waves of strikes by the IDF against dozens of Hamas targets. Our hearts are with the [Gaza Belt] residents, who spent the night in shelters. Hamas must know that it will lose any confrontation with Israel.”
While the rocket attacks were not carried out by Hamas, but rather by smaller terror organizations in Gaza, most notably Islamic Jihad, the launches would not be possible without Hamas’ active or tacit approval. Israel holds a strict policy of holding Hamas accountable for any attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip.
Following the exchange, a spokesperson for the Islamic Jihad in Gaza said “Gaza is not a testing ground for Israel’s F-16 jets. The resistance has the right and the obligation to respond in accordance with the circumstances and what it sees fit.”
Hamas’ Gaza spokesperson, Fawzi Barhoum, praised the Islamic Jihad’s attack, Tweeting: “Well done to the resistance forces for responding to the Israeli attacks. This is proof that the resistance movements are the ones that set the rules, and they will not allow Israel to set new rules or act as they wish against the Palestinian people.”