Retaliating Israel targets Gaza rocket launchers


The Israeli Air Force targeted two concealed rocket launchers in northern Gaza hours after a mortar attack from the coastal strip.

A statement Thursday from the Israel Defense Forces did not say if the launchers were destroyed by its aircraft.

On Thursday morning, Palestinians fired two mortars from central Gaza into Israel, the IDF said. The mortars were aiming for Israeli soldiers patroling the border area, according to Ynet.

“Launching rockets against Israel and its civilians is a breach of our sovereignty,” said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner. “We maintain the right to operate against those who are involved in terror.”

The mortar fire occurred on the first anniversary of Pillar of Defense, the Israeli army operation in Gaza launched to stop frequent rocket strikes on southern Israel.

Israeli soldiers injured by mortar fired from Syria


Two Israeli soldiers were injured when two mortar shells fired from Syria landed in the northern Golan Heights.

The soldiers were hit by shrapnel in Wednesday’s incident, according to reports. One also suffered from shock.

The mortars likely were a result of the ongoing civil war in Syria and not meant to target Israeli soldiers. However, Israeli workers building a fence last week near an Israeli military post on the Syrian border came under fire from Syria last week and Israeli troops patroling the border in the same area were fired on.

Dozens of mortar shells have landed on Israel’s side of the Golan since the start of the Syrian civil war more than two years ago. Israel has filed complaints with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force stationed on the Golan. Israel has returned fire twice, including when a mortar fired from Syria struck an Israeli army post.

Syrian mortar shells fired into northern Israel


Three mortar shells were fired from Syria into northern Israel.

The shells, which landed Thursday and did not cause any injuries or damage, were not believed to have been targeting Israel and likely were fired by the Syrian army at rebel forces in the area.

The Israel Defense Forces reportedly filed a complaint about the incident with United Nations forces in the demilitarized zone on the border between Israel and Syria.

It was the third incident between Syria and Israel in the last week; all are believed to be a result of the Syrian civil war.

In all three cases, Israel's military filed a complaint with the relevant U.N. peacekeeping forces.

Palestinians fire mortar to defy truce with Israel


Palestinian terrorists fired a mortar shell into Israel on Thursday morning to defy an informal truce between Israel and Hamas, Haaretz reported.

The shell was directed at the western Negev following an Egyptian-brokered truce that had supposedly ended a two-day Palestinian onslaught that saw a total of 86 projectiles fired at the Jewish state from Gaza.

“The Egyptians have a very impressive ability to articulate to [Hamas] that its primary interest is not to attack and use terror against Israel or other targets,” Israeli defense official Amos Gilad told Army Radio.

Before the truce, the last rocket from Gaza had been fired at 8 p.m. Wednesday, according to an Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman cited by Reuters. Gilad, however, stressed that “there is no agreement with Hamas, there has never been and there will never be.”

“The only thing that has been set and said is that there will be calm,” Gilad said. “We are not interested in an escalation.”

Barrage of rockets fired from Gaza strike Israel


More than 30 rockets and mortars were fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel.

The rockets fired Monday damaged an apartment building and killed several animals in a petting zoo. Some Israeli media put the number of rockets and mortars at more than 50.

The barrage of rockets came a day after the Israel Air Force targeted a motorcycle carrying two Palestinians that the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement had been planning an attack against Israel on the Sinai border. One was killed and the other seriously injured. Eleven others were wounded in the attack, including five children, according to the Palestinian Ma'an news service.

Residents of three communities in southern Israel on Monday were instructed to remain within 15 seconds of a safe room or shelter. Children were not in school due to the Simchat Torah holiday.

Hamas claimed responsibility for Monday's rocket attacks, saying it was in response for Israel's strike.

Israel responded Monday to the Hamas rocket attacks, targeting with tanks and planes what the IDF called “Hamas terror activity sites and terrorist squads responsible for the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.”

During 2012 more than 470 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel.

Syrian mortar shells hit Golan in spillover


Several spillover mortar shells from fighting in Syria hit the Golan Heights.

Israeli reports said the shells landed in an open area early Tuesday and no one was injured. The Syrian army is believed to have fired the mortars at Syrian villages near the border. It was the first time that fire from Syria during its civil war had crossed into Israel.

The Israeli Defense Forces submitted a complaint to the United Nations over the shells. An IDF spokesman said that “fire from Syria leaking into Israel will not be accepted,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

In the past few months, fears of the Syrian conflict leading to fighting with Israel have risen. Last week, the IDF conducted a surprise military drill in the Golan to simulate an attack scenario on the northern border. The IDF said the drill was not related to recent events, the Post reported.

Rockets land in Israel despite reported cease-fire


At least seven rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza exploded in Israel after reports of an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire.

Egypt announced that a cease-fire between terrorist groups in Egypt and Israel came into effect at 1 a.m. Tuesday.

“We are still following the situation in the South and we need to see how it develops and whether the [rocket] firing really stops,” Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz said Tuesday. “It’s not over until it’s over. Quiet will be answered with quiet, and fire will be answered with fire.” 

A Reuters report late Monday quoted unnamed Egyptian officials as announcing the cease-fire. Neither Hamas nor Israel would confirm the report, and the terms of the truce were unclear.

Terrorist groups in Gaza launched a barrage of rockets at Israel March 9 after Israel assassinated Zuhir Mussah Ahmed Kaisi, leader of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces believed Kaisi was planning a terrorist strike in Israel.

Since the violence began four days ago, more than 200 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip. The Iron Dome anti-missile system has intercepted 56 and the IDF has carried out 37 strikes inside Gaza against rocket launchers and weapons storage facilities and factories.

Israeli authorities said Iron Dome had intercepted 90 percent of the long-range missiles targeting major Israeli cities such as Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon.

At least 26 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old and three other civilians, were killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza. The majority of those killed were terrorists, including 14 from Islamic Jihad, according to the IDF.

At least seven Israelis and foreign workers in Israel have been wounded, two seriously, and dozens have been treated for shock, according to reports.

The IDF Home Front Command ordered schools closed again Tuesday in cities and towns located up to 25 miles from the Gaza border, affecting about 200,000 children. It was the third day that classes have been canceled. Classes at colleges and universities in the area also were closed.

IDF strikes Gaza 5 times following recent mortar, rocket barrage


Israel Air Force fighter jets and aircraft initiated an extensive bombardment of terror sites throughout the Gaza Strip late Monday, in what the Israel Defense Forces is calling a retaliation for a recent barrage of mortar bombs and rockets launched by militants based in the coastal enclave.

The strike came shortly after a recent upsurge in the number of rockets being fired from Gaza, the peak being on Saturday when the southern part of the country was hit by over 50 rockets.

Gaza eyewitness reports claimed that the IAF attack included five separate strikes, with medical sources in the Strip reporting five wounded Palestinians in the strikes’ wake, two of which were children.

Read more at Haaretz.com.

Israeli troops thwart attack following Gaza strikes


Israeli troops thwarted Gaza Palestinians preparing to launch an anti-tank missile at an Israeli force operating in the northern Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces in a statement said its soldiers hit their target in Tuesday’s operation.

Also Tuesday, a Kassam rocket was fired from Gaza into southern Israel.

Israeli combat planes late Monday night pounded the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a weekend mortar attack, the worst barrage of rocket attacks on southern Israel in two years. More than 50 mortar shells struck the area on Saturday morning. On Monday, a long-range Grad-style rocket was fired from Gaza at southern Israel.

The Israelis’ attack targeted two terror tunnels, two weapons manufacturing and storage facilities and two additional terror activity sites across the Gaza Strip, according to the IDF. Direct hits were confirmed, the IDF statement said.

Israel Radio said there were reports from Palestinian sources of 17 wounded.

Israel had responded earlier Monday to Saturday’s barrage with airstrikes on suspected bomb smuggling tunnels. The latest attack seemed more comprehensive and sustained, according to Israel Radio.

The armed wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam Brigades, had claimed responsibility for most of the explosives sent Saturday from Gaza.

Before Israel’s attack Monday night, a spokesman for Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza, had indicated that the group was ready to return to a fragile truce.

Israel files U.N. complaint over mortar barrage


Israel’s foreign minister filed a formal complaint with the United Nations following the heaviest barrage of mortar shells on southern Israel in two years.

More than 50 mortars were fired from the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, according to reports. Two Israelis were injured by shrapnel, and homes and buildings sustained damage.

The armed wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for most of the explosives.

Israel’s military struck several Hamas targets with tanks and aerial fire in Gaza later Saturday in response to the barrage. The strike lasted some 45 minutes, Ynet reported. The bodies of two Palestinians who were suspected of planting a bomb were found the next day near the Gaza-Israel border, according to reports.

Last Friday, 10 mortars were fired on Israel from Gaza.

In the complaint to the United Nations, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman decried international support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying that it would be a “terrorist state whose primary goal is the destruction of Israel.” He also noted that the attack on Israel came as Hamas and the Fatah Party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were talking about reconciliation.

Israel also filed a formal complaint with the U.N. Security Council on March 18 over its seizure of the cargo ship Victoria, which was transporting concealed arms from Iran via Syria to Gaza via Egypt.

Meanwhile, gunmen claiming to be from Hamas on Saturday raided the Gaza offices of the Reuters news agency, striking one employee with a metal bar, and smashing a television and other equipment. The gunmen also raided the offices of CNN and the Japanese station NHK.

Israel strikes Gaza in retaliation for mortar attacks


Israeli airstrikes hit three terror sites in Gaza in response to shelling on southern Israel, the Israeli military said. 

The sites targeted late Tuesday night were a terrorist tunnel and a terrorist activity site in the central Gaza Strip, and a terrorist activity site in the northern Gaza Strip, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Eight Palestinians were lightly injured, according to Israeli media citing Palestinian sources.

Terrorists use the tunnel to infiltrate into Israel and perpetrate terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, the IDF said.

Four mortar shells fired from Gaza on Tuesday hit southern Israel, damaging a car and an irrigation hose. The al-Quds Brigade, the military wing of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the attacks. No one was injured.

Three long-range Grad-style missiles were fired into Israel a week ago, with one narrowly missing a wedding reception in the southern city of Netivot.

More than 40 mortar shells, Kassam rockets and Grad rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory since the beginning of 2011, the IDF said.