The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist organization has taken responsibility for a barrage of 20 rockets fired at southern Israel from Gaza early Sunday evening.
Approximately 10 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome.
This map shows all the areas in Israel that just came under fire: pic.twitter.com/OxvBfwAuuW
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) February 23, 2020
IDF Iron Dome aerial defense fighters intercepted and shot down 10 of the 20 rockets.
Shrapnel subsequently landed in the garden of a home in the Gaza border community of Nir Am, in the Shaar HaNegev Regional Council District.
Multiple rockets exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council district, officials said, but no one was physically injured and no property damage was reported.
The Red Alert rocket attack warning sirens were heard shortly after 5:30 pm in multiple Gaza border communities, including the city of Sderot and a host of moshavim and kibbutzim, as well as the coastal city of Ashkelon and the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council district.
The city of Ashkelon ordered the opening of its municipal bomb shelters in the wake of the attack, and all public activities for the remainder of the day were cancelled.
The attack came after an IDF bulldozer prevented a group of terrorists from retrieving the body of their fellow operative who had been killed while planting a bomb on the border earlier in the day.
According to Israel’s Channel 13 News, terrorist organizations were already evacuating their headquarters in preparation for the escalation after the incident.
IDF troops had identified two terrorists in the Gaza Strip who were planting an improvised explosive device (IED) next to the security fence with Israel on Sunday morning. The soldiers opened fire at the terrorists, both of whom were members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist group, and “a hit was identified,” the IDF stated. One of the terrorists was killed, the other injured.
When a group of fellow terrorists came and tried to retrieve the body of the dead terrorist and help the injured operative to safety, an IDF bulldozer rapidly moved forward to prevent the rescue.
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has established a firm policy that no terrorist bodies are to be returned to Hamas while they continue to hold hostage the bodies of deceased IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, and continue their terror attacks on Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces increased the number of Iron Dome batteries in the southern region due to the possibility there might be a response from Gaza terrorists in retaliation for the death of 27-year-old Muhammad Ali al-Naim, the terrorist who was killed while planting the bomb on Israel’s border earlier in the day. Ali al-Naim was a commander in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization’s Al Quds Brigade – the group’s military wing – in the Khan Younis area.
The condition of his accomplice, who was reportedly injured as the IDF returned fire, is unknown.