Iran Built and Supplied Mortar Shells Fired at Israel From Gaza, Defense Minister Says

Lieberman also says that Israeli teens who said they refuse to join army because of occupation, 'should go to jail'

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Iran built and supplied the mortar shells fired at Israel by Salafist groups in Gaza
Tomer Appelbaum

Iran built and supplied the mortar shells fired at Israel from Gaza by Salafist terror groups, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Saturday. Three projectiles were fired at Israel on Friday, two of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while a third hit a building.

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When asked whether Iran had transferred the shells to Hamas, which still controls the Strip, Lieberman said that Iran "supplied [them] to many in Gaza, it's too early to say which." Lieberman added that Israel has deterred Hamas from seeking a new conflict, but that Israel is losing its deterrence with radical Salafists supported by Iran. "They want to drag us into full-scale war," he said.

Israeli forces inspect a part of a rocket that was fired from Gaza and hit the Israeli regional council of Shaar Hanegev, December 29, 2017.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

In response to Friday's attack on Israel, the army struck two Hamas positions in the northern Gaza Strip by tank and aircraft. No Israelis were hurt in the initial attack.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, some 40 rockets have been fired at Israel, with about half falling short of the border and landing in Gaza.

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Lieberman also commented on a letter sent by over 60 Israeli teens saying they would refuse to enlist in the army because they do not want to "take part in the occupation." According to the defense minister, they "need to be jailed, they need to fulfill the duties expected of all citizens and therefore I hope all of them are sent to jail."

On Thursday, a group of 63 teens publicly declared they will refuse to be drafted into the Israel army, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. “We have decided not to take part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people,” they wrote in a letter sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and the defense and education ministers.

“The ‘temporary’ situation has dragged on for 50 years, and we will not go on lending a hand,” the letter said, calling on others to reconsider being drafted, and adding that intended to go around the country to recruit for their initiative. The signatories include Matan Helman, 20, of Kibbutz Haogen, who is serving jail time because of his refusal to be drafted into the army.