IDF Hits Gaza Targets After Rockets Strike Near Beersheba, Ending Cease-fire
Israeli Air Force planes hit 10 Palestinian rocket sites and other targets in northern Gaza Tuesday afternoon, after terrorists fired three rockets at the Beersheba and Netivot areas.
The IDF Spokesman confirmed the rocket attacks to The Algemeiner, shortly before 16:00 pm.
“Following renewed rocket attacks at Israel earlier this evening, amidst the ceasefire, the IDF is currently targeting terror sites across the Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement.
“Yet again, terrorists breach the ceasefire and renew fire at Israeli civilians from Hamas ruled Gaza Strip,” IDF Spokesman, Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner, said.
“This continued aggression will be addressed accordingly by the IDF; we will continue striking terror infrastructure, pursuing terrorists, and eliminating terror capabilities in the Gaza Strip, in order to restore security for the State of Israel,” according to Lerner.
An IDF strike at the non-functioning airport in southern Gaza injured two children, Palestinian sources told reporters.
There are no initial reports of physical injury or damage in the Palestinian salvo into Israel, which hit open areas, according to the army.
Local analysts suggested the Palestinians fired longer-range Grad rockets instead of short-range Qassams or mortar shells, which might indicate an organized strike, and not an attack by splinter groups.
The rocket fire breaks a 24-hour extension of a previous cease-fire, reached via indirect Egyptian-brokered talks in Cairo between Israel and Hamas.
“Today’s rocket attack on Beersheba is a grave and direct violation of the ceasefire to which Hamas committed itself,” Prime Minister’s Office Spokesman Mark Regev said in a tweet.
Israel’s negotiating team is leaving cease-fire talks in Cairo, over the rocket attacks, Army radio said, and it is unclear when, or if, they will return.
Gaza based Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masry said in a statement in the wake of the rocket attack, “If Israel wants calm it must accede to the demands and rights of the Palestinians,” according to The Times of Israel.
No red alert sirens sounded in the attack, according to local media. Military sources said the lack of sirens was due to the rockets’ trajectory, which did not reach populated areas.
Hamas officials, earlier in the day, complained of what they called “Israeli foot-dragging” in talks, and threatened to take unspecified measures, the radio reported.
It is unclear, at this point what group is behind the attack; local media said the barrage was fired from the northern Sajayeh area, the scene of intense fighting during Operation Protective Edge, although the IDF could not confirm the report to The Algemeiner.
Israel holds Hamas responsible for all hostile activity out of Gaza, and, as such, “this is the eleventh ceasefire that Hamas has either rejected or violated,” Regev said.
UPDATE: Municipal authorities across southern and central Israel, including cities in the densely-populated Gush Dan area, including Tel Aviv, Holon, Bat Yam, Rehovot, Rishon Letzion, and adjacent areas have opened bomb shelters in expectation of renewed long-range rocket fire from Gaza. “The IDF Home Front Command has issued orders to open bomber shelters within the 40km range of the Gaza Strip,” a statement read.