The IDF struck targets belonging to terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday night in response to a rocket that was fired from the Strip towards Israel earlier in the evening and fell in an open area near Beersheba, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
The strikes targeted sites near Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip and near Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian reports. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the strikes targeted a site for manufacturing rockets and a military position.
“The Hamas terrorist organization bears responsibility for what happens inside and outside of the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences of terrorist acts against Israeli citizens,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was delivering a speech as the IDF struck Gaza and was in Beersheba when the rocket was fired towards the southern city, with video shared on social media showing him being removed by a restaurant in the city by security guards after the rocket fire.
Rocket fire has targeted Netanyahu’s campaign events in the past, with two separate events in Ashkelon being disrupted by rocket fire from Gaza in recent years.
After the rocket fire, Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz stopped his campaign efforts and conducted security consultations.
“Bibi [a nickname for Netanyahu] is weak in front of Hamas,” said former defense minister Naftali Bennett. “I wish Netanyahu had fought Hamas like he fought me. Hamas is laughing at Netanyahu’s weakness. They shot a Grad rocket near Beersheba while Bibi was visiting there.
“Bibi is submissive to Hamas,” he said. “Bibi is submissive to the Bedouin gangs in the Negev. Bibi is submissive to the justice system. A strong right is only Yamina with the letter Bet [the letter on Yamina’s ballot slip].”
In response to the rocket fire, New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar pointed to promises by Netanyahu in 2009 to overthrow Hamas. “Now he has given Hamas vaccines even without demanding for a sign of life from our illegally held civilians in Gaza and without receiving the bodies of our martyrs who fell in Operation Protective Edge. Is it a wonder that they make fun of him and us?”
On Sunday, two Palestinians were arrested by the IDF after they crossed the border from the south of the Gaza Strip into Israel armed with knives, the military reported.
Ynet reporter Matan Tzuri reported on Sunday as well that incendiary kites and balloons were found in southern Israel near the border of the Gaza Strip over the weekend.
They were the first incendiary devices reported in the past few months, after a lull in the launch of incendiary and explosive devices from the Strip.
Except for sporadic balloon launches in the fall of last year, the launches had largely stopped since a ceasefire was reached between Hamas and Israel at the end of August, after weeks of daily explosive and incendiary balloon launches and rocket fire.
In response to the balloon launches in August, Israeli officials, including Netanyahu and Gantz, warned that such launches would be met with “forceful” responses.
The incidents come after a series of incidents in which a number of Palestinians were killed and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group threatened to respond.
On Friday, Sheikh Atef Yousef Hanaisheh was shot in the head and taken to a hospital near the West Bank city of Nablus where he later died, the Palestinian health ministry said.
Hanaisheh, who was in his forties, was involved in a weekly protest against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan, near Nablus.
A group of Palestinians threw stones towards two IDF soldiers posted there, and the soldiers opened fire, said the Reuters witness, a photographer.
“The Palestinian people will not submit under the impact of terrorism and aggression, but will respond to them with anger, revolution and the massive uprising that will uproot the Zionist presence from our country,” said the terrorist group in response to the death of Hanaisheh.
Earlier this month, the Gazan Interior Ministry claimed that an Israeli quadcopter carrying explosives was responsible for an incident which resulted in the death of three Palestinian fishermen.
At the time, the Hamas-run ministry stated that it holds Israel “fully responsible for the killing of the three fishermen.”
The Al-Quds Brigade, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group, warned at the time that Israel “will receive a sure response from the Palestinian resistance” to the alleged incident.
“The rules of engagement established with the occupation will not be allowed to be changed,” said the terrorist group.