Israeli warplanes struck Hamas targets in Gaza early Thursday after Gaza terrorists fired a rocket at Israel earlier in the night. The rocket fell in an open area of the Negev, Israeli officials said. There were no injuries or damage.
The Red Alert warning system went off at about 1:00 a.m., sending residents scurrying for shelter. The rocket fell just minutes later. It was the second time Wednesday night that the warning system sent residents to their shelters. Gaza sources later reported that Israeli planes had struck Hamas targets in Gaza, and the IDF confirmed this, saying that it would “continue to act against efforts to harm civilian populations in Israel. The IDF sees Hamas as responsible for everything that happens in Gaza.”
The attack came on the same day that the Qatari ambassador to Gaza was expected to enter the Strip with millions of dollars in cash, for distribution to Hamas terrorists and their families. Hamas earlier this week warned Israel that if the “understandings” between it and Israel were not fully enacted by the end of the week – particularly the understanding in which Israel allows Qatari cash over the border – then trouble could ensue. A report in a Lebanese newspaper Tuesday said that Hamas had given the message to Egyptian interlocutors, to be passed to Israel. Israel has until the end of the week to comply.
The report said that Hamas has been seeking to increase pressure on Israel, to impress upon the government how important the understandings are to the terror group. Over the weekend, there were three attempts by Gaza terrorists to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks, and there are nearly-daily fires caused in Israel by terror balloons. Also over the weekend there were several rocket attacks, with several people injured in an attack on Saturday.
Hamas has denied culpability for all these attacks, saying that it was due to the “frustration” of Gaza residents who are mired in poverty – hence the need for the Qatari money. Israeli officials have countered those claims by saying that most of the money goes to pay for salaries and supplies for Hamas terrorists, and to buy materials that are assembled into rockets to be fired at Israel.