2 rockets fired at Beersheba in ceasefire breach; IDF hits Hamas targets in Gaza

2 rockets fired at Beersheba in ceasefire breach; IDF hits Hamas targets in Gaza

Rockets intercepted by Iron Dome; in return to IDF policy, Hamas, which sat out last round of Israel-Islamic Jihad fighting, blamed for all terror coming from Strip

Illustrative: Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, November 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Illustrative: Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, November 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Two rockets were fired toward Beersheba from the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Saturday morning in a fresh breach of the ceasefire. The rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

In response, the Israel Defense Forces carried out strikes on Hamas terror targets in the enclave, the army said in a statement.

Significantly, the army said it was targeting Hamas in the latest strikes. During this week’s fighting, Israel traded blows with the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, while the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group sat on the sidelines.

In a statement, the IDF said Hamas targets hit in the early morning strikes included a military camp and a compound serving the terror group’s naval forces. In addition, underground infrastructure was hit. No casualties were reported in the strikes.

“The Hamas terror organization is responsible for everything in the Gaza Strip and will bear the consequences of terror acts carried out against Israeli citizens,” the IDF said.

An Iron Dome battery in southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on November 13, 2019 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The two rockets were fired toward Beersheba in the predawn hours of Saturday morning, in a fresh breach of a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Gaza terror groups.

The rockets set off warning sirens in Beersheba for the first time this week.

Footage from the city showed some people at a night club take cover as alarms blared just before 2:00 a.m., while others appeared unfazed by the sirens.

Lights are turned on at a Beersheba nightclub Friday night, November 15, 2019, as rocket sirens go off in the city. Two rockets fired at the southern city were intercepted by Iron Dome (video screenshot)

There were some 3,000 people in the Forum nightclub at the time.

The Magen David Adom emergency and rescue service said it was treating five people for anxiety and four who were injured while running to bomb shelters following the attack.

On Friday, Hamas acknowledged that one of its operatives had been killed during fighting this week.

The Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, said Ahmed Abdel al-A’al was one its members. A statement from the group did not clarify whether he was taking part in fighting when he died.

According to the military wing, al-A’al, 23, and two of his teenage brothers were killed in a “Zionist bombardment” on Wednesday.

The outbreak of violence in the early hours of Saturday morning came as Israelis had started recovering from two days of intense fighting between Israel and Gaza terror groups.

From the predawn Tuesday to Thursday morning, Israel and Islamic Jihad fought a battle in which over 450 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel from Gaza, and the IDF responded with dozens of airstrikes on Islamic Jihad facilities and on the terror cells as they were firing and preparing to launch rockets.

The escalation began when an IDF targeted missile strike killed Baha Abu al-Ata, a commander in the Islamic Jihad terror group who Israel said was the “prime instigator” of terrorism from Gaza over the past year.

Palestinian sources said 34 Gazans were killed in the two days of conflict. Israel said 25 of the fatalities were terrorists; human rights officials said 16 civilians were among the dead.

Fifty-eight Israelis were lightly and moderately injured or treated for anxiety.

Most of the rockets from Gaza either landed in open fields or were intercepted by Israeli air defenses. Some struck homes, businesses and streets, causing injuries and significant property damage. Dozens of people were also hurt as they fell running to bomb shelters.

In response to the attacks, the Israeli military conducted dozens of strikes on Islamic Jihad bases and weapons facilities, as well as rocket-launching teams throughout the Strip. The Hamas terror group, which rules the Strip, refrained from partaking in the violence.

Israel and Islamic Jihad agreed to a ceasefire on Thursday morning, although there were four rocket attacks throughout the day Thursday and the IDF attacked Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza overnight in response.

Islamic Jihad terrorists attend a memorial service for one of their number who was killed in clashes with Israel, November 15, 2019. (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

On Friday schools remained closed in the Gaza periphery, but at noon local councils announced a return to normal life.

Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the head of the Israeli military’s Southern Command, warned Gaza-area residents Thursday that the rocket fire might continue even with the ceasefire agreement in place.

The general said the IDF would be working to thwart these attacks. “If we identity launch efforts, we will strike the cells,” Halevi said.

Other Israeli leaders have warned they would not hesitate to return to battle.

Islamic Jihad’s military wing also threatened Israel that it was ready to continue fighting.

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