Air force strikes Gaza terrorists after rocket attack

A pinpoint air strike by Israel destroys a terrorist center, but leaves mosques intact. (Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JWN)—Israel Air Force planes destroyed an Islamic Jihad operations center in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday night, in retaliation for a rocket attack on southern Israel, the IDF Spokesman’s Office announced. The aircraft reported a direct hit on the target.

Earlier in the day an Islamic Jihad terrorist squad fired a Kassam rocket fired into the area of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council in southern Israel. No casualties or damage were recorded, but several residents were treated for shock.

It was the second incident in as many days. On Monday afternoon, an IDF tank opened fire on a Palestinian terrorist cell that was spotted planting bombs along the fence separating the Gaza Strip and Israel.

 The IDF Spokesman reported an “accurate strike” on the terrorists. Three of the terrorists were wounded, according to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, quoting medical sources in Gaza.

“Terrorist elements exploit their presence near the border fence to plant explosives, and plan attacks and kidnappings of IDF soldiers. This presence poses a threat to Israeli citizens and to security forces that operate in the area,” the spokesman said in a statement.

On Saturday a foreign worker from Thailand was lightly wounded when a Kassam rocket fired from Gaza struck in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council area.

The IDF has approved a series of wider operations in response to ongoing Islamic Jihad rocket attacks from Gaza.

“We’re not waiting for any decision by Islamic Jihad,” IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said

He said Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz had ordered the army to prepare a number of actions that had been approved by the government to enhance Israel’s efforts to halt the rocket fire.

“There are pinpoint plans to strike terrorist infrastructure–and more than that,” Mordechai said. “Until now, the IDF has harmed the Islamic Jihad’s rocket manufacturing and firing infrastructure, including a senior member who was responsible for these things.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Islamic Jihad and Hamas leaders “not to test our abilities,” following a meeting with security and intelligence chiefs last week.

Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad threatened to strike deeper into Israel following the air force’s retaliatory attack.

“Our response will be a clear message,” said Daoud Shihab, an Islamic Jihad spokesman. “We will widen the circle of fire and include new settlements and cities deep in Israel.”

The Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad is believed to have stockpiled thousands of rockets.