The Israeli Air Force struck a terrorist rocket launching site late Monday night in the Gaza strip after a rocket was fired into the Ashkelon region. The fired rocket from Gaza landed in an open area and no injuries or damages were reported.
The AFP reported that the target of the strike was a terror cell that was in the midst of carrying out a second rocket launch into Israeli territory. IDF officials confirmed that the strike took place in Northern Gaza in the city of Bayt Hanun in retaliation. The strike targeted an underground rocket launcher.
“Israel Air Force aircraft targeted terrorists preparing to launch rockets in the northern Gaza Strip,” the IDF stated. “The mission was carried out in order to eliminate an imminent attack targeting civilian communities of southern Israel.”
Palestinian media reported that one man was killed and three others injured in the airstrike. Gaza’s health ministry identified the 21-year-old Mus’ab Musa Za’aneen as the terrorist killed in the airstrike. Za’aneed was a member of the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad.
IDF Spokesman Peter Lerner confirmed success of the strike on his Twitter account.
The IDF reiterated that it would not tolerate violence against innocent Israeli civilians. “The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli citizens and will continue to operate against anyone who activates terror into Israeli territory,” the IDF said.
As of January, Israel has been witness to a drastic increase in rocket attacks from Gaza. In January, 20 rockets were fired into Israel, which is triple the average amount of monthly attacks in 2013.
Early Tuesday morning, Arab terrorists hurled firebombs at the community of Beit El in the Binyamin region north of Jerusalem. The attack is the second this week.
The Beit El council states, “These firebombs are being thrown in broad daylight and extremely close to the community’s houses.”
The IDF notes that there has been a recent uptick in violence towards Israeli settlement communities, especially towards IDF soldiers. On Monday, a soldier was injured by stone attacks near Jelazoun, near Beit El. The IDF has a policy of restraint when it comes to responding to Palestinian attacks.