Al-Qaida Offshoot Claims Responsibility for Missile Attack on Southern Israel

Report: Hamas to augment forces charged with preventing missiles being fired at Israel.

Jack Khoury
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Jack Khoury

An Al-Qaida affiliated militant organization, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Champions of Jerusalem) took responsibility for Friday's missile attack directed at the southern city of Eilat.

In a message posted by the group, it said the missile was launched as a response to the IDF's Friday morning strikes on the Gaza Strip, in which seven Palestinians were wounded.

The group threatened further strikes against Israel.

The missile, which was fired from the Sinai Peninsula, was intercepted by an Iron Dome battery deployed near Eilat. There were no reports of damage or injuries.

Report: Hamas to boost anti-missile unit

Meanwhile, a Gazan news website reported that Hamas had temporarily withdrawn its forces charged with the prevention of missiles being fired from the Strip into Israel. According to the report, Hamas means to augment the unit's numbers and arms capabilities, after the recent string in missiles that were fired into southern Israel - which brought about the IDF's Friday strikes.

Hamas, though, has not made any official statements on the matter. The organization is widely perceived as being interested in avoiding an escalation in its confrontation with Israel at this point, due to pressures directed at it by Egypt and the diplomatic isolation it is suffering since the Muslim Brotherhood's recent fall from power in Egypt.

A member of Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas walks past a building, which witnesses said was hit in an Israeli air strike on Friday in the northern Gaza Strip. January 31, 2014.Credit: Reuters