Israel strikes Hamas assets overnight after rockets fired from Gaza Strip

The exchange comes in the wake of a deadly gun battle in Nablus that erupted after Israeli forces came under fire during a counter-terror raid


(JNS) The Israel Defence Forces struck Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip overnight Wednesday, after Palestinian terrorists fired a barrage of rockets at southern Israel.

Fighter jets struck a Hamas arms manufacturing facility in central Gaza, as well as a military compound in the northern Strip used to store naval weapons, according to the military.

“The compound is built near a mosque, a clinic, a school, a hotel and a police station. This is further proof that the Hamas terrorist organisation is placing its military assets in the heart of the civilian population,” the IDF said in a statement.

“This attack is a significant blow to Hamas’s ability to fortify and arm itself. The terrorist organisation bears responsibility for Gaza and will pay the price for security violations against the State of Israel,” added the military.

The strikes came after Palestinian terrorists fired six rockets at southern Israel, including Ashkelon.

Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system intercepted five of the rockets, with the remaining one landing in an open area, according to the military.

The exchange came after 11 Palestinians were killed and dozens more wounded in a gun battle that erupted when Israeli forces came under fire on Wednesday during an arrest operation in Nablus.

Israel Defence Forces fighters were attacked by gunmen after surrounding a building in the kasbah/Old City in the center of the Palestinian Authority-run city in Samaria in which three terrorists, the targets of the operation, had holed up.

Soldiers surrounded a home where the wanted terrorists, members of the Lions’ Den terrorist group, were located, demanding they turn themselves in. The suspects instead began shooting from the structure, prompting the soldiers to return fire.

All three wanted men were reported killed during the arrest raid.

ABOVE: IDF video of the strikes on the Gaza Strip overnight

The three wanted men were identified as Husam Aslim, 24, one of the heads of the Lions’ Den group, who carried out shooting and IED attacks and dispatched the murderers of IDF St.-Sgt. Ido Baruch, who were arrested last week by the Israeli security forces; Muhammad a-Fatah, 24, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad member who carried out shooting attacks targeting IDF soldiers in Judea and Samaria; and Walid Dahil, 24, a member of the Lions’ Den group who fired at soldiers in Judea and Samaria.

In response, the Palestinian Authority said it would turn to the United Nations, with PLO Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh tweeting, “The Palestinian leadership decides to go to the #UN Security Council to request international protection for our Palestinian people in light of the continuing crimes of the occupation.”

Describing the arrest raid as a “planned and premeditated criminal act,” he added that “the Palestinian leadership is seriously considering taking steps at all levels in response to this barbaric act.”

Riyad Mansour, the PLO envoy to the United Nations, also demanded that the world body take action following the IDF operation. He said the United Nations was losing credibility by standing by as Palestinians were killed and warned that the disputed territories were a powder keg waiting to go off, which he blamed on Israeli policies.

Israel remains engaged in a counter-terrorism offensive amid a wave of Palestinian attacks.

Earlier this month, a terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Ramot neighbourhood claimed the lives of Yaakov Israel Paley, 6, his brother, Asher Menachem Paley, 8, and 20-year-old Alter Shlomo Lederman.

Three days later, Israeli soldier St.-Sgt. Asil Sawaed, 22, died from wounds sustained in a terrorist attack at a checkpoint to Shuafat in northeastern Jerusalem.

In late January, seven people were killed and several others were wounded in a terrorist shooting attack at a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov neighbourhood.

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