Israeli Army Destroys Hamas Outpost in Gaza in Retaliation for Rocket Fire, Military Reports

An IDF tank shelled an observation post in response to an earlier attempt to fire a rocket from Gaza into Israel

The Israeli army destroyed a Hamas observation post on Sunday night in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a rocket that was fired from the Strip at Israeli territory earlier in the evening, the military announced.

According to the army, an Israel Defense Forces tank fired a mortar at the target, destroying it. Reports from Gaza said that the strike took place next to a refugee camp in the center of he Strip.

When the rocket was fired from the Strip at southern Israel on Sunday evening, arning sirens sounded in the Eshkol Regional Council communities next to the Gaza border. According to the IDF, no injuries or damage were reported. After sending troops to locate the rocket, the army reported that it exploded in Gazan territory.

File photo: a photo of a rocket that fell in the Eshkol Regional Council in April 2017.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The rocket, which was fired from southern Gaza, most likely exploded near the Strip’s border with Israel. The army is currently working to identify where the rocket fell.

All of the rocket fire and shelling from Gaza this year were not orchestrated by Hamas but rather by small organizations that identify with the Salafist-Jihadist movement in the enclave. Sunday’s rocket attack follows the arrests of members of these organizations, which were conducted over the past few days.

A Salafist organization also undertook the last rocket attack targeting Israel, which took place in August. Hamas then started pursuing the perpetraters of the shooting in an attempt to arrest them.

Gadi Yarkoni, the head of the Eshkol Regional Council, commented: "Unfortunately, the holiday peace was interrupted by a siren in a number of towns in the council, but, fortunately, we have been updated that nothing fell in the council's territory. We're in constant contact with the security forces, and there is no change in the instructions for self defense. I call of all the residents of Eshkol and our guests to continue enjoying the atmosphere of the holiday and autumn in Eshkol."

The rocket fire on Sunday was the first since the beginning of the reconciliation process between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. On Tuesday, PA officials are expected to arrive in Cairo for discussions on reconciliation with Hamas leaders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken out against the reconciliation process. Last week he said that Israel is not ready to accept “imaginary appeasement” processes in which “the Palestinian side is reconciling at the expense of [Israel’s] existence.”