The attacks started Sunday night as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group launched over 40 rockets and mortar shells at Israelis.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the country will go to war with Gaza if Hamas does not stop rocket attacks in the Gaza Strip.
The Prime Minister is threatening a new war with Gaza in response to a barrage of rocket attacks from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group in the Gaza Strip Sunday night and Monday morning.
“I only go to war as a last option but we have prepared something you can’t even imagine,” Netanyahu said. “If you don’t shoot them, we will shoot you. I’m talking about a war.”
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) closed schools, roads and a railway near Gaza on Monday, according to CBN News, . The IDF also advised the public not go to work unless near a bomb shelter.
The attacks started Sunday night as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group launched some 40 rockets and mortar shells at Israelis.
Many of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System. The others landed in open areas. There were no injuries from the rockets, but two Israelis were taken to the hospital for anxiety and injuries sustained while fleeing to a bomb shelter.
80+ rockets have been fired at Israel since yesterday.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) February 24, 2020
Here’s what’s been happening: pic.twitter.com/hyNfmvANHJ
The rocket fire started after Israeli soldiers shot and killed a PIJ terrorist who was trying to plant an explosive device on a security fence on Sunday.
Israel Defense Forces retrieved the body and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said he will keep it with the other bodies of killed Palestinian terrorists. He plans to only release the bodies when terrorists return the bodies of Israeli soldiers who were captured and killed in the 2014 Gaza war.
“Hamas is holding the bodies of [fallen soldiers] Hadar Goldin and Oron [Shaul],” he said. “I back the IDF that killed the terrorists and collected the body. This is how we should and will act.”
Following the rocket attacks, IDF also struck back at PIJ locations in Syria and Gaza. The PIJ said in a statement that two of its soldiers were killed.
“This cowardly aggression in Damascus was a reflection of the enemy’s failure to confront our fighters inside occupied Palestine,” the group said, adding that “we promise to God that the response to this ugly crime will come,” according to Christian Headlines.
The last 24 hours in Israel: pic.twitter.com/0YNwvMsYvL— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) February 24, 2020
The IDF also struck dozens of PIJ terror targets in the Gaza Strip.
“The IDF will respond to any terror acts of the Islamic Jihad that endanger Israeli civilians and harm its sovereignty. The IDF views the rocket attack towards Israeli territory with great severity, is prepared and will continue operating as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli civilians,” the military said in a statement.
While Israel usually holds Hamas responsible for all activities in the Gaza Strip, Israel notably did not blame them for this round of attacks.
The IDF is differentiating between Hamas and PIJ and believes the latter is responsible for the majority of the recent violence along the Gaza border.
The clashes come amid reports that Israel is hoping to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with Gaza. Last week, Israel announced it would provide hundreds of new work permits for Gazans, a step towards an informal ceasefire with Hamas.
Tens of thousands of Gazans used to work in Israel until Hamas took power in 2007 and Israel and Egypt imposed a severe blockade on the coastal enclave.