Defense minister: Mortar shells fired at Israel on Friday were supplied by Iran
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Defense minister: Mortar shells fired at Israel on Friday were supplied by Iran

Avigdor Liberman says Tehran has equipped a number of Gaza terror groups with projectiles and it's 'too early' to tell which organization is responsible

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on December 24, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on December 24, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday night said the three mortar shells fired at Israel a day earlier were supplied by Iran to terrorist groups in Gaza.

The defense minister also called the firing a “very grave” act.

Speaking to Hadashot News’ “Meet the Press,” Liberman said the Islamic Republic has supplied such weaponry to a number of terror groups in the Gaza Strip in the past, and therefore it was “too early” to identify the exact source of the shelling.

The IDF on Friday had attributed the fire to rockets, rather than mortar shells.

According to initial Israeli assessments, the barrage was not launched by the Hamas terror group, which controls the Gaza Strip, but by other terrorist organizations in the enclave.

Zehava Shaul, whose son Oron’s remains are being held by the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza, is led away from a ceremony in his honor after rockets are launched at Israel from the coastal enclave on December 29, 2017. (Screen capture)

The fire targeted the Sha’ar Hanegev and Sdot Hanegev regions of southern Israel on Friday afternoon. Two of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while the third struck near a building in a community in the area, causing damage.

The launches appeared to deliberately coincide with a ceremony marking what would have been the 24th birthday of Oron Shaul, an IDF soldier who was killed in 2014, and whose remains are held by Hamas.

Shortly after the barrage, the Israel Defense Forces retaliated by attacking two Hamas positions with tank shelling and strikes from aircraft.

The mortar attack was the first such incident since December 18.

This month saw two weeks of near-daily rocket launches, the largest incidence of missile-fire from the Strip since the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. These daily attacks had recently seemed to have come to an end.

Protesting US President Donald Trump’s December 6 declaration that Jerusalem is the Israeli capital, Hamas, which seeks Israel’s destruction, has called for a new intifada and vowed to liberate Jerusalem.

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