After Rocket Fire, Israel Backtracks Decision to Allow in More Gazan Workers

Israel's defense establishment believes that Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives are responsible for the rocket fired at Israel on Saturday

Smoke billows following an Israeli airstrike south of Gaza City on Saturday.
Smoke billows following an Israeli airstrike south of Gaza City on Saturday.Credit: EYAD BABA - AFP

Defense Minister Benny Gantz walked back his decision to grant permits to an additional 2,000 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to work in Israel and the West Bank after militants fired rockets from Gaza at Israel on Saturday.

The decision to issue the additional permits, which was supposed to go into effect on Sunday, was put on hold with the support of senior IDF and Southern Command figures. Should the region remains calm, they estimate that the laborers will be allowed to cross into Israel for work within a few days.

Israel's defense establishment believes that Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives are responsible for the rocket fired at Israel on Saturday morning. They believe is that the launch was retaliation for the IDF killing of three Palestinians in Jenin who apparently belonged to the organization a day prior. However, no group has claimed responsibility for the rocket fire thus far. The Israeli army views fire from the Strip toward the southern town of Ashkelon as an unusual move.

Palestinian workers crossing from Gaza to Israel wait for their belongings after a security check on the Israeli side of Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip in March.Credit: Oded Balilty /AP

In response to the rocket fire, Israeli airstrikes on Saturday dropped 12 tons of explosives on a rocket manufacturing workshop, and three Hamas outposts near the Israeli border were attacked. However, footage showed that the outpost across the border from the Israeli town of Netiv Ha’asara was manned again shortly after the attack, which drew right-wing criticism. The Israeli army noted that Hamas operates hundreds of such outposts along the border with Israel.

Concurrently, the spokesperson for the military wing of Islamic Jihad, Abu Hamza, announced that the organization has launched a broad exercise. He said that the organization’s fighters will practice combat in the Strip as well as firing rockets, in order to prepare for a possible coming conflict.

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