Israel launched a pair of overnight raids in Gaza, in response to an attempted rocket attack directed towards the country from the Gaza Strip.
Israel carried out a pair of air raids in Gaza after midnight on Thursday, April 21, in which appears to be the largest exchange of fire since the 2021 war. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the move was a response to rocket fire and anti-aircraft missiles launched from the Hamas-run enclave earlier this week. Nevertheless, the Iron Dome missile defence system mistook gunshots for a salvo of rockets in what initially appeared to be a sign of a significant escalation. By night’s end, the IDF confirmed that only one rocket had been fired into Israel during the whole exchange.
No Gaza group immediately took responsibility for either of the launches. However, several media reports citing Israeli security officials pegged Hamas-rival Palestinian Islamic Jihad as responsible for the Monday rocket fire. The army said in its early Thursday statement that it holds Hamas responsible for what takes place in the Gaza Strip.
During the pair of air raids, the Israeli military targeted Hamas military post, terror tunnel, underground rocket manufacturing site, compound used by air defence force. The IDF claimed its strike marked a significant blow to the rocket production process in Gaza, though a Hamas spokesperson referred to the Israeli strike directed towards the weapons manufacturing facility as a “failed” attack. The site was empty and no one was injured. He also spoke of a “failed attempt to stop the Palestinian people from resisting the occupation.” Hazem Qasim said early Thursday that “the bombing of Gaza will increase the persistence of our people and its resistance to continue the struggle and escalate support and aid for our people in Jerusalem.”
Tensions have been heightened since violence broke out at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on April 15, on the second Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the first night of Judaism’s week-long Passover holiday. The site, also known as Temple Mount, is sacred to both Jews and Muslims. It is administered by Muslim authorities under Israeli security.
In recent weeks, there have been several terror attacks in Israel, including the shooting on Dizengoff Street. Fourteen Israelis lost their lives in the attacks.