Gaza rocket fired at Ashdod, Israeli jets respond against Hamas targets

Rockets launched out of Gaza at a southern Israeli town.Rockets launched out of Gaza at a southern Israeli town.

For just the second time since last summer’s conflict, a rocket was fired Tuesday  from the Gaza Strip at the southern Israeli city of Ashdod.

Israel responded by launching air strikes against four terror targets in Gaza.

Rocket warning sirens were sounded in Ashdod and the surrounding area, a rarity since Operation Protective Edge as a single rocket headed for the city.

However, it was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system and no injuries or damage was reported.

The latest attack comes a little over a week after a Gaza rocket landed in Sderot and another was aimed at Ashkelon.

Periodic rocket fire from Gaza has notably increased since May. Like these previous attacks, responsibility for Tuesday’s fire was claimed by the radical Salafist group the Omar Brigade, which is close to ISIS.

The Omar Brigade has made clear that its attacks serve a dual purpose – targeting Israelis while challenging Hamas’s authority in Gaza. In recent weeks, Hamas has faced increased pressures in the form of Egypt’s continuing crackdown on smuggling tunnels and rare displays of public dissatisfaction with its governance.

Israel holds Hamas, which is the de factor governing power in Gaza, responsible for rockets fired from territory it controls.

IDF Spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said that “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”

However, Israeli officials will have noted with concern that yesterday’s rocket attack yesterday was the first time that the Omar Brigade has deployed more sophisticated long-range rather than short-range missiles.

Gaza rocket fired at Ashdod, Israeli jets respond against Hamas targets

For just the second time since last summer’s conflict, a rocket was fired Tuesday  from the Gaza Strip at the southern Israeli city of Ashdod.

Israel responded by launching air strikes against four terror targets in Gaza.

Rocket warning sirens were sounded in Ashdod and the surrounding area, a rarity since Operation Protective Edge as a single rocket headed for the city.

However, it was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system and no injuries or damage was reported.

The latest attack comes a little over a week after a Gaza rocket landed in Sderot and another was aimed at Ashkelon.

Periodic rocket fire from Gaza has notably increased since May. Like these previous attacks, responsibility for Tuesday’s fire was claimed by the radical Salafist group the Omar Brigade, which is close to ISIS.

The Omar Brigade has made clear that its attacks serve a dual purpose – targeting Israelis while challenging Hamas’s authority in Gaza. In recent weeks, Hamas has faced increased pressures in the form of Egypt’s continuing crackdown on smuggling tunnels and rare displays of public dissatisfaction with its governance.

Israel holds Hamas, which is the de factor governing power in Gaza, responsible for rockets fired from territory it controls.

IDF Spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said that “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.”

However, Israeli officials will have noted with concern that yesterday’s rocket attack yesterday was the first time that the Omar Brigade has deployed more sophisticated long-range rather than short-range missiles.