Gaza Militants Attack Israel Heightening Middle East Crisis

Late this past Saturday into early Sunday morning, Gaza militants have fired more than 30 rockets at Israel further escalating a crisis that started with the firing of missiles back and forth between Israel and Syria.

Israel almost immediately counterattacked, hitting Hamas military emplacements that held rocket launchers,  stated the Israeli military.

“Two militant groups in Gaza, Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s Abu Ali Brigades, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. Israel says it holds Gaza ruler Hamas responsible for any violence coming from the Gaza Strip,” reported the Wall Street Journal.

“In a statement, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Israel’s bombing of Hamas targets in Gaza as well as the recent clashes in Jerusalem are ‘part of its comprehensive aggressive policies against our people.’ Hamas did claim the rocket fire but said ‘what the Palestinian resistance is doing in response to this aggression is within the framework of carrying out its national duty to protect and defend the interests of our people,'” the news source stated.

The conflict sparked in the footsteps of violent demonstrations in Jerusalem after Palestinians stated that Israeli police were seeking to stop all gatherings at the Damascus Gate opening to the Old City throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

This past Thursday, Israel retaliated against Syria, which had fired a set of advanced surface-to-air missiles that struck the Negev Desert. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) stated that as a response, it attacked several missile batteries in Syria, especially the one that fired the original missile at Israel.

“A surface-to-air missile was fired from Syria to Israel’s southern Negev,” tweeted the Israel Defense Forces. “In response, we struck the battery from which the missile was launched and additional surface-to-air batteries in Syria.”

“Syria’s state news agency said Syrian air defenses intercepted the Israeli attack that had targeted areas in the Damascus suburbs,” reported The Jerusalem Post. “Air defenses intercepted the rockets and downed most of them,” the outlet stated. However, four Syrian solider were reported as injured during the attack which also led to damages to facilities, the outlet continued.

Syria has claimed that it fired the missile in retaliation for what it says was an Israeli Air Force bombing around Damascus. The attempt to intercept the missile by Israel failed. “The IDF activated its air defense systems in an attempt to intercept the missile, but the attempt failed,” reported the Jerusalem Post. “The military is investigating why its air defenses failed to intercept the SA-5 and did not intercept the large warhead.”

“Early reports indicated that the explosion was the result of a Patriot missile defense system battery responding to the firing of the missile into Israel. The IDF later confirmed the reports and on Thursday morning, missile parts were located in the swimming pool of the Negev community of Ashalim,” stated the outlet.

According to the Associated Press, the Syrian missile was launched by accident and was not aimed at Israel’s top-secret nuclear reactor.

 

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