Israel Airstrikes Pound Gaza Amid Ongoing Jerusalem Tensions
Five Israeli airstrikes hit a Hamas position in southern Gaza on Monday, a security source said, amid tensions in Jerusalem over Israel’s actions at Al-Aqsa mosque.
Separate strikes hit farming land in central Gaza, hours after a missile was fired across the border from the Palestinian enclave, with no injuries reported in either incident, the source confirmed.
Israel’s military also confirmed it struck an observation post of the group’s military wing near Khan Yunis in the early hours of the morning.
“An (Israeli) tank targeted a post belonging to the Hamas terror organisation in the southern Gaza Strip” a statement said.
The Israeli strike came hours after a “projectile fired from the Gaza Strip” hit an open area inside Israel without causing any injuries.
Israel and Hamas, which runs Gaza, have fought three wars since 2008.
Since the last one in 2014, a fragile ceasefire has been observed along the largely closed border.
Missiles and rockets are periodically fired at Israel, generally by hard-line Islamist groups opposed to Hamas.
But Israel holds Hamas responsible for all rocket fire from Gaza regardless of who carried it out, and usually retaliates within hours.
Tensions between Israel and Palestine have flared in the past week as violence spiralled in Jerusalem following new unilateral Israeli security measures at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound last week.
Since Friday, five Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in deadly clashes as mass demonstrations took place across Jerusalem and the West Bank to protest the measures.
Three Israeli settlers were also stabbed to death in a settlement north of Ramallah by a Palestinian assailant.
Hamas praised the attack as “heroic”, although the movement is not thought to be responsible. Palestinians suggest decades of Israeli occupation and oppression has prompted such attacks.
On Sunday, Israel responded by detaining 25 members of the Hamas movement during overnight arrest raids in the occupied West Bank.
The arrests included “senior members” of the group as part of preventive measures in the wake of “tensions around the Temple Mount,” a statement from Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said.
Israel did not identify who the senior officials were, although Israeli media reported that Hamas MP Omar Abd al-Razaq was one of those detained.
Source: The New Arab