Israel and Hamas Exchange Rocket Fire

Israel and Hamas Exchange Rocket Fire

Israeli defense forces retaliated Monday morning and destroyed a Hamas installation in the Gaza Strip. The strike was in response to two rockets that had been fired earlier into southern Israel for which Israel holds Hamas responsible. The communities struck in Israel were Sha’ar HaNegev and Eshkol, although the rockets did not initially appear to have struck property or caused casualties.

The rocket launches come amid escalating violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank following a deadly terror attack which killed two Israeli police officers that led Israeli authorities to install metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount Complex in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Palestinians have protested the new security measures imposed by Israel and four civilians have died in clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians – all of them Palestinian. A terrorist attack in the settlement of Halamisch in the West Bank killed three Israelis. Demonstrations against the installation of the metal detectors also took place in Gaza on Friday leaving several Gazans injured from Israeli fire.

These were not the first rockets to fired from Gaza this year. Small jihadist groups fired rockets into Israel in June in the hopes of retaliation that would pressure Hamas to take a more militant position than it already has. Hamas has started to arrest and disrupt these smaller groups so as to maintain control of both the Gaza Strip and its relations with Israel. Since a formal relationship does not exist, the primary means of communication continues to be sporadic violence and signals emanating from the level of that violence.

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