Palestinian terror groups launch dozens of rockets and mortars at Israel


Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and other Palestinian terror groups, including Fatah's al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, launched dozens of rockets and mortars from Gaza towards southern Israel yesterday. The barrage of rockets and mortars was the most significant in a single day since Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.

In a statement posted on its website, the al Quds Brigades, PIJ's military wing, said that "Operation Breaking the Silence" comes in response to "Zionist aggression" in Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank. The Iran-backed terror group specifically noted Tuesday's airstrike in Gaza that killed three PIJ fighters who had fired mortar rounds at Israeli forces.

PIJ fighters fired 130 rockets and mortars, the group claimed. Israeli officials said only 60 hit Israel, however. At least three of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

It is likely, though still unclear, that a number of the rockets and mortars fired by PIJ and the other groups landed in Gaza. Both PIJ and the IDF released video of some of yesterday's attacks from Gaza.

According to Israel's Shin Bet, in all of 2013 only 74 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza towards Israel.

In response to yesterday's rocket attacks, the Israeli Air Force struck at least "29 terror sites in the Gaza Strip" last night. "The IDF will do everything in its power to fight Gaza terrorism and protect the people of Israel," the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. Officials in the Gaza Strip said the targeted sites belonged to PIJ and Hamas, the Associated Press reported.

Hamas, which did not claim responsibility for any of yesterday's attacks, said Palestinians have a right to defend themselves in the face of Israeli aggression. In a brief statement, the State Department called yesterday's attacks from Gaza "reprehensible" and noted that "Israel, like any nation, has a right to defend itself."

Israeli officials have expressed concern in recent weeks about escalating violence emanating from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. "The situation is stable, but we are seeing a creeping escalation," one military official told the Jerusalem Post in late February.

While the recent upsurge in rocket attacks has been carried out by groups other than Hamas, Israeli military officials consistently remark that Hamas is not doing enough to stem the rocket attacks. Hamas "can and must do more" to stop rocket fire from Gaza, one official told Reuters in mid-January. In early February, Hamas pulled back some of its forces responsible for preventing rocket attacks. The forces were eventually redeployed, but sporadic rocket and mortar fire continued.

The firing of rockets and mortars toward Israel from Gaza increased in January and February. In response to the rocket fire, the IAF struck a number of terror sites in Gaza, as well as terrorists themselves. On Jan. 19, the IAF targeted Ahmad Saad, an operative in Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who was allegedly behind the firing of five rockets toward Ashkelon on Jan. 16, among other attacks. On Jan. 22, the IAF targeted and killed Ahmed Za'anin, another Palestinian terror operative in the Gaza Strip.

More recently, on Feb. 9, the IAF targeted Abdallah Kharti, a member of the Popular Resistance Committees who was said to have worked with the Sinai-based jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis). On March 3, an Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed a member of PIJ as well as a fighter in the Mujahideen Brigades.



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READER COMMENTS: "Palestinian terror groups launch dozens of rockets and mortars at Israel"

Posted by Neonmeat at March 13, 2014 7:16 AM ET:

Hamas is such a cynical organisation.

They KNOW the reaction they will get from Israel will be airstrikes, they KNOW civilians will be killed by Israeli retaliation to their attacks but they shoot and scoot and leaves the wives and daughters and fathers to be martyred when Israel responds.

“Hamas, which has did not claimed responsibility for any of yesterday's attacks, said Palestinians have a right to defend themselves in the face of Israeli aggression.”

Yeah and that works both ways.

When Israel kills a Palestinian civilian in response to a Hamas attack, Hamas see it as a victory as they gain sympathy from the outside world. I am personally not a Israel fanboy and believe they commit Human rights abuses themselves but they have nothing on Hamas and friends.

Posted by Jeff Edelman at March 13, 2014 7:23 PM ET:

Hamas is an enabler. It allows other terrorist organizations to do its bidding. To neon, from the above story, it appears IAF is accurate in its responses.

Posted by JT at March 13, 2014 7:51 PM ET:

I had to learn about this from LWJ. Didn't see anything on the big media outlets. Sheesh.

Posted by robi at March 14, 2014 9:45 AM ET:

They KNOW the reaction they will get from Israel will be airstrikes, they KNOW civilians will be killed by Israeli retaliation to their attacks but they shoot and scoot and leaves the wives and daughters and fathers to be martyred when Israel responds.

Posted by EDDIED. at March 14, 2014 2:21 PM ET:

Hamas needs to whipped for their actions. Neonmeat is totally correct, all this will do is cause innocent people to be killed. Israel will respond you can count on it so, what are you thinking Hamas! A shame that you can't be weeded out and dealt with. Your own people should rise up against you Hamas because of the misery you bring on them. Your whatever (you call it revenge) is stupid. Sorry, for all the space I am taking up Bill but this is just sickening.

Posted by m3fd2002 at March 14, 2014 2:51 PM ET:

If any of these rockets cause casualties, the Israeli's will respond quite robustly.

Posted by Toms at March 14, 2014 5:53 PM ET:

I have feeling that Middle East crysis will never end. As always between Israel and Palestine, inocent peoples die over and over...and over...