From the early morning hours on Saturday, rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continued with some 20 hits identified within Israel, mostly in towns and villages near the Gaza border.
An Israeli civilian who was inside a factory in Sderot was hit by the rocket fire and sustained moderate injuries.
On Saturday at noon and afternoon Israel’s Air Force hit terrorists who were in the midst of preparations for launching missiles at Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip. Both attacks thwarted the launches. Terrorist Khalid al-Burei, 25, was reported killed, a long with a young girl.
Overnight, the IAF attacked three terrorist bases in northern and southern Gaza Strip. Hamas reported at least 17 injured.
On Friday two teams which were preparing to fire rockets at Israel were hit. All the attacks resulted in precise target hits and all IAF planes returned safely to their bases.
But according to Ma’an, the Islamic Jihad held its fire this week. Last Sunday, Israel launched a series of airstrikes which killed eight Arabs over three days, including two Islamic Jihad terrorists.
The Islamic Jihad did not respond, but the military wings of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Resistance Committees and several smaller brigades sent a volley of rockets into southern Israel and at Israeli military sites around Gaza.
Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, on Tuesday fired its first rockets since April 2011.
Islamic Jihad leader Nafeth Azzam told Ma’an: “We were not pressured by any side whether to participate or not.”
Political analyst Yahya Rabbah said the Islamic Jihad had led the resistance last time Israel heavily bombed Gaza.
“The Islamic Jihad movement … took the entire burden of facing the occupation as most of the martyrs and the injured were its leaders and no one stood beside it until a truce was made through Egyptian mediation,” Rabbah told Ma’an.
The Islamic Jihad stayed on the sidelines this week “to see how others would face the Israeli aggression,” Rabbah suggested.
Following the Saturday incidents, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz convened a special assessment meeting, with the head of Military Intelligence, Air Force Commander and other generals. Gantz later toured the area under attack and met with commanders in the Gaza division, as well as municipal leaders.
“Iron Dome” batteries stationed in the south have so far hit eight rockets which were fired at urban concentrations.
Home Front Command instructed residents of the settlements around Gaza to remain within 15 seconds of the protected spaces. The Zikim beach was closed down following this order.
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