The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Tuesday conducted a series of airstrikes throughout the Gaza Strip just hours after Palestinian militants launched 25 mortar shells into Israel.
Most of the incoming mortars were deflected by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, but a few hits were reported – including one in the yard of a kindergarten.
Israel’s retaliatory attack targeted a rocket manufacturing workshop, “sheds of drones,” naval weaponry, and training facilities.
“Israel will exact a heavy price from those who seek to harm it and we see Hamas as responsible for preventing such attacks,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Tuesday’s exchange, which appears to be the largest flare-up since the war in 2014, comes just two weeks after the grand opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
The opening exacerbated Palestinian protests aimed at lifting a territorial blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007. More than 100 Palestinians were killed on May 14th when the IDF opened fire on protestors to block them from crossing the border into Israel.
Hamas blames these deaths on Israel, while Israel claims Hamas is fueling the border protests to distract the IDF while it plans a more targeted assault. In the meantime, Hamas says the border protests will continue.
“We will not allow the occupation to continue its aggression against the Palestinian people without a response and we will continue with the processions of return until the siege on Gaza ends,” promised Islamic Jihad figure Khaled al-Batsh.
The United States condemned the attack on Israel and called an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
Author’s Note: Just in case anyone has forgotten, Israel and Hamas have been bitter enemies for years. The two sides have fought three wars since 2007, and the Palestinians are constantly sending mortars and rockets into Israel.
The ongoing conflict is more important than the most recent attacks.
Editor’s Note: The Palestinians have launched literally thousands of rockets into Israel each year for many years. The Israelis have always taken a measured response, but how long can this go on? Would we tolerate people shooting rockets into Houston, or San Francisco?