Illustrative: Rockets are launched by Palestinian terrorists into Israel, in Gaza May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
The Israeli Air Force on Sunday said it struck a rocket manufacturing site and military posts belonging to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, after two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed off the Tel Aviv coast on Saturday morning.
Hamas claimed in a message relayed by Egyptian intermediaries that the rockets went off inadvertently due to bad weather conditions, according to Israel’s Kan News.
“All of Hamas’ stories about lightning and thunder, that repeat themselves winter after winter — are no longer relevant,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “Those who aim missiles towards the State of Israel will bear the responsibility.”
Gaza’s ruling faction Hamas is being held to account, Kan reported, though the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is believed to be behind the rocket launches. “In the past, when Hamas wanted to contain other factions in the Strip, it succeeded,” a source told the broadcaster. “Therefore, the responsibility for everything occurring in Gaza belongs to Hamas.”
PIJ has threatened military action if Hisham Abu Hawash, a Palestinian being held by Israel in administrative detention, should die. Abu Hawash, who has been on hunger strike for over 130 days, was reportedly recently transferred to an Israeli hospital in critical condition.
In the retaliatory action, IDF fighter jets, helicopters, and tanks carried out overnight strikes on a series of targets at a Hamas rocket manufacturing complex in Khan Yunis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The IDF also said it hit a number of Hamas military posts along the Gaza border.
Saturday’s rocket fire came after months of relative quiet along the Israel-Gaza border following an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in May.
“It remains to be seen over the coming months if Palestinian factions have changed tactics since the May conflict and will begin to target Tel Aviv in a more frequent manner as a response to Israeli activities,” tweeted Joe Truzman, research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal.