Terrorists Resume Rocket Fire after First Israeli Killed in Attacks

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel’s military leaders are still planning for an extended battle with terror groups in the Gaza Strip, yet the launchers fell silent as Thursday ended, and the Israel Defense Forces ( IDF) struck Gaza military posts and launching sites Friday morning.

After 13 hours, however, the rocket launchers resumed Friday, leveling another barrage against Israel from the Gaza Strip, with interceptions by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system even being reported in towns closer to Jerusalem, such as Bet Shemesh and the Gush Etzion region south of the capital.

It’s the first time in the recent round of fighting that sirens have sounded in Judea (the West Bank).

Israel suffered its first fatality from the rocket barrages Thursday, three days into Operation Shield and Arrow, when a missile struck an apartment in the central city of Rehovot, killing 1 man and injuring at least 5 others. 

Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Daniel Hagari said an Iron Dome technical malfunction allowed the rocket to hit the apartment.

With the resumption of the rocket barrage, the launch number from Palestinian areas should rise above 900 missiles for the week.

During the fighting, Israel eliminated at least 5 commanders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and hit more than 200 military targets, including rocket launchers, command posts and mortar launching sites. At least 30 Palestinians have died, most of them Islamic Jihad operatives.

Almost 200 of the 900 rockets fired by PIJ fell short and landed in the Gaza Strip, killing several Palestinians, while the IDF says Iron Dome shot down more than 90 percent of the missiles coming toward populated areas.

The barrage sent nearly 2 million Israelis running for shelter, including on the beaches of Tel Aviv. Since the beginning of the operation, more than 60 Israelis have been treated for rocket-related attacks. 

Uzi Rabi, director of Middle East Studies at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center, told a Media Central briefing,  “Iran is the main director of the initiatives of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, PIJ.  It’s the funder. It’s also the training element. I mean, at the end of the day, these terrorists need to know how to prepare a drone, how to arm a drone, how to prepare (an) IED explosive device; and Iranian experts are actually helping them achieve these terroristic goals.”

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