Terrorists from Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization — and possibly also from its ally, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization — fired a barrage of rockets towards Israel during the Passover seder late Wednesday night and into the wee hours of Thursday morning.
Israeli military censors on Thursday night allowed the publication of the information that rocket fire and mortar shelling was also directed at the IDF’s Kissufim military while Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi was celebrating the Passover seder with soldiers on the base.
The Red Alert incoming rocket siren was triggered in multiple Jewish communities along Israel’s southern border with Gaza, according to the IDF.
According to the IDF, at least seven surface-to-air rockets were launched at southern Israel, all of them exploding in mid-air, plus two that were fired towards the Mediterranean Sea.
In response, the IDF struck weapon manufacturing sites and a storage site belonging to Hamas, in addition to a military compound used for training terrorist operatives.
IDF tanks also struck military posts along the security fence, the military said.
The attack on Thursday night followed a similar barrage fired at Israel from Gaza on Wednesday night, as Muslim activists clashed with Israeli police at the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The armed worshipers barricaded themselves inside the mosque, shouting “Al Aqsa will be redeemed in spirit and in blood,” forcing police forces to evacuate them.
At least 11 people were arrested, according to Arab media reports, with videos posted on social media showing flocks of Muslim worshipers fleeing the Temple Mount.
“While police officers continued to allow many Muslims to celebrate Ramadan and safely reach the Temple Mount for the evening prayers, dozens of law-breaking juveniles, some of them masked, threw fireworks and stones into the Mosque with the aim of disrupting the order,” Israel Police said in a statement on the clashes.
“At some point the violent rioters tried again to close the mosque doors and prevent the worshipers from leaving the mosque in order to barricade themselves in the place. Police forces prevented the lawbreakers from closing the doors and helped the worshipers leave the Mosque.
“The lawbreakers started shouting incitement, shooting fireworks, and throwing objects at the worshipers and at the police officers,” police noted. “Currently the lawbreakers have been dispersed, the fortification has been avoided and the place is quiet,” the statement added.
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland condemned Israel together with the armed Arab rioters, writing that he was “appalled” by the images of violence inside the “al-Qibli mosque” – the Arab name for the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Appalled by the images of violence inside al-Qibli mosque. Disturbed by the apparent beating of #Palestine|ians by #Israel|i security forces & large number of arrests. Strongly reject the stockpiling & use of fireworks & rocks by Palestinians inside the mosque.
Full statement ? pic.twitter.com/IyBDm0LnaA
— Tor Wennesland (@TWennesland) April 5, 2023
“I am disturbed by the apparent beating of Palestinians by Israeli security forces and large number of arrests. I also strongly reject the stockpiling and use of fireworks and rocks by Palestinians inside the mosque,” he wrote Friday, drawing a moral equivalency between armed terrorists using their house of worship as a military base, and Israeli police intent on disarming the terrorists before they could carry out plans to attack Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount.
“Leaders on all sides must act responsibly and refrain from steps that could escalate tensions,” Wennesland wrote.
“The indiscriminate firing of rockets is unacceptable and must stop.
“The UN remains in close contact with all concerned parties to de-escalate the situation.”