An Islamic State supporting group in Gaza, Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigade, has claimed responsibility for a rocket that was fired Tuesday night towards the Israeli city of Ashdod.
The pro-IS Salafi groups consider Hamas, which fought a 50-day war against Israel last summer, as being too soft on Israel and for failing to impose stricter Islamic laws in Gaza. The group has launched numerous rockets towards Israel and senior Hamas officials have accused them of trying to push for another war with Israel by firing rockets at Israel.
The Israeli Air Force struck four targets belonging to the radical-Islamic Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning, following an earlier rocket attack on southern Israel.
“Hamas is responsible and will be held accountable for every attack emanating from the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli military said in a statement.
“The IDF will continue defending all Israelis who are repeatedly attacked by such blatant acts of aggression,” the statement read.
Hours earlier, Israel’s “Iron Dome” defense system intercepted a Grad-type rocket fired from the Gaza Strip.
IDF Spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said following the attack that “this evening, the third day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, a rocket was fired at southern Israel sending the residents of Ashdod as well as several surrounding communities to nearby bomb-shelters. Hamas is responsible and will be held accountable for every attack emanating from the Gaza Strip. The IDF will continue defending all Israelis who are repeatedly attacked by such blatant acts of aggression.”
An alert sounded in the coastal town of Ashdod and Ashkelon before the anti-missile system destroyed the rocket.
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck southern Israel last week, but did not cause casualties or damage.
Tuesday’s rocket attack marked the 9th such attack since the beginning of the year and came as sporadic clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians hit Jerusalem’s Old City and a checkpoint outside Ramallah, with tensions heightened as Jews celebrated the Sukkot holiday.
The incidents followed fresh clashes Monday at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, where Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the shrine and threw stones and petrol bombs at security forces who responded with stun grenades and tear gas.