When one terror group went quiet last week, another one joined the fray as Hamas took up the rocket fire from Islamic Jihad on Friday. The IDF Twitter feed reported that two rockets were fired at the Israeli city of Beersheba at 2 AM on Friday morning, but thankfully both were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Israel blamed Hamas for the attack and quickly responded.
“I instructed the IDF to immediately attack Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “Again, whoever hurts us, we will hurt them. We are prepared for any scenario and the security forces know exactly which plans they must implement to defend the State of Israel in any arena. We will do everything to ensure the security of Israel.”
The Hamas rocket attack came one day after Islamic Jihad violated their ceasefire with Israel, leading to an Israeli counterattack, Haaretz reported. That capped a furious round of fighting in which Israel assassinated Islamic Jihad senior commander Abu al-Ata and the Palestinian terror group retaliated by launching around 450 rockets at Israel.
One day after the Hamas rocket attack, Hamas issued a statement saying their leader Ismail Haniyeh had contacted Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-general Ziyad al-Nakhalah to express solidarity. The statement, posted to Hamas’ website, said the two leaders had “agreed on bolstering collaboration and coordination between their movements and with other Palestinian factions at this critical stage.”
The Hamas leader, according to the statement, “stressed that his movement will unify and continue supporting all Palestinian factions under any circumstance.”
Despite the surge in violence and the late participation of Hamas, Netanyahu on Sunday called the mission to take down archterroist Ata a success.
“I would like to commend the security forces for the perfect carrying out of Operation Black Belt. I would also like to thank the members of the government for unanimously approving the important decision to embark on this operation. The goals of the operation were fully met,” said Netanyahu.
The Israeli leader also addressed the conditions of the ceasefire with Islamic Jihad. “I would like to reiterate: Israel has not promised anything. Our security policy has not changed at all, not one iota,” said Netanyahu. “We maintain complete freedom of action and we will hurt whoever tries to hurt us.”
The IDF Twitter page made that point abundantly clear in recapping the fighting with Hamas on Friday. “In response to the rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians overnight, our forces struck Hamas terror targets in Gaza. Hamas will bear the consequences for attacks against Israeli civilians.
“We remain prepared for various scenarios.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 17, 2019)