Israel Retaliates After Palestinian Rocket Hits Border City
(Bloomberg) -- Israeli aircraft and tanks struck two posts of the Hamas militant group Sunday after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in an Israeli border community.
No casualties were reported from the rocket, which landed between homes in Sderot. The Israeli counterstrike wounded at least one person and damaged the main water tank in the town of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, according to Palestinian medics, security officials, and witnesses.
Frequent Palestinian rocket fire on Sderot, about 73 kilometers (45 miles) south of Tel Aviv, and other Israeli communities near the Gaza border has prompted three major military incursions since Israel withdrew from the densely populated strip more than a decade ago. Hamas’s continued efforts to dig attack tunnels under the border into Israel have prompted warnings that another round of conflict is just a matter of time.
A small armed faction, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, Israel’s Channel 2 television reported, but Israel holds the Hamas group responsible for all attacks from the territory it rules. Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and the European Union, seized control of Gaza in 2007 after days of armed battles against the security forces of the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah faction.
“The enemy’s leadership keeps committing mistakes and repeats the same stupidities by keeping the siege imposed on our people,” Abu Omeida, a spokesman for al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said at a rally his group organized in the Gaza Strip city of Rafah. “They will be mistaken if they believe that the siege could break our resistance.”
The rally commemorated the two-year anniversary of Israel’s air and ground offensive in Gaza Strip that lasted for 50 days, leaving 2,200 Palestinians and 70 Israelis dead and widespread destruction.