Al-Qaida Affiliate in Gaza Claims Responsibility for Rockets Fired Toward Israel

Five rockets were fired Friday night from the Gaza Strip at Israel. The Israel Defense Forces responded with airstrikes on four Hamas targets.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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An Aug. 21, 2014 file photo of a light trail made by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
An Aug. 21, 2014 file photo of a light trail made by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel.Credit: AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

The "Aj'nad Beit al-Maqdis" (Soldiers of the Holy Temple) organization, ideologically affiliated with Al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the five rockets fired from Gaza toward southern Israel on Friday.

Residents of north Gaza said Hamas's military wing has increased patrols along the Israel-Gaza border following the rocket fire.

The organization vowed to continue firing at Israel in the announcement published Saturday. They said that they delayed claiming responsibility in order to protect the operatives behind the rocket fire.

Hamas still does not permit its operatives to fire rockets into Israel, despite leaders' confrontational declarations and continued support for an uprising against Israel. According to Gaza residents, it is possible that minority factions operating on the ground took advantage of the stormy weather to carry out the rocket fire.

Israeli detection systems picked up the launches and identified two projectiles that crossed the border, the other three exploded on the Gaza side of the border. The Israel Defense Forces responded with airstrikes on four Hamas targets.

There is often tension among Hamas and organizations affiliated with ISIS and Al-Qaida regarding operations on the ground in Gaza. Disputes over power struggles between commanders in the field are often expressed through rocket fire toward Israel. Israel's defense establishment therefore responds proportionately, in order not to provoke an additional response from Hamas.

According to Palestinian media reports, Israeli airstrikes targeted open areas and Hamas training sites, namely the "Al-Yarmouk complex" in west Gaza and the "Palestine complex" east of Beit Hanoun, an airport east of Rafah and another open area in central Gaza. No casualties were reported.

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