Early Monday morning, a surprise rocket attack from Hamas, the Sunni jihadist group that governs the Israel-adjacent Gaza Strip, struck a civilian home in central Israel. Seven were injured, including two infants. The Times of Israel reports:
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck a residential building in central Israel early Monday morning, injuring seven people, including two small children, and leveling the structure, officials said.
The attack triggered air raid sirens at approximately 5:20 a.m. throughout the Sharon and Emek Hefer regions north of Tel Aviv, the army said.
According to the military, the rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip, where earlier this month two rockets were also fired at Tel Aviv, in what was described at the time as an apparent "mistake" by the Hamas terror group. ...
Police said the projectile early Monday struck a residential building in the community of Mishmeret, on the Sharon plain, causing it to catch fire. The shrapnel from the rocket attack also caused significant damage to the surrounding area, as fragments hit a gas tank outside the building.
Drone footage of the site showed that the majority of the structure, which contained two housing units, had been flattened by the strike.
Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, which has a roughly 90% successful interception rate, appears to have not properly activated. As of Monday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was still investigating the failed Iron Dome activation. The rocket traveled 60 miles, which makes it the furthest projectile launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip since the last full-scale Israel/Hamas war in 2014.
Israel immediately blamed Hamas for the rocket attack, called up reserve military units, and deployed two additional brigades of troops to the Gaza border. The IDF subsequently engaged in a heavy round of bombing of Hamas military infrastructure in Gaza — including the office of Hamas chieftain Ismail Haniyeh.
The Times of Israel reported:
The Israeli military said it bombed dozens of targets throughout the Gaza Strip on Monday evening, including the office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, in response to a rocket fired from the coastal enclave that slammed into a home in central Israel, injuring seven people.
The Israeli Defense Forces began its hours-long bombing campaign shortly after 5:30 p.m., some 12 hours after the initial attack — the farthest reaching rocket strike since the 2014 Gaza war.
Approximately three hours into its bombing campaign, terror groups in the Gaza Strip began launching dozens of mortar shells and rockets at southern Israel, triggering air raid sirens throughout the region, the IDF said. ...
Israeli fighter jets targeted a building used as an office by Haniyeh in the upscale Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, the military said. The Hamas leader was not in the building at the time, having fled for shelter on Monday morning following the early morning rocket attack on central Israel.
Hamas has since claimed that a ceasefire has been reached, but the IDF has not confirmed the unilateral claim of the terrorist group.
In an op-ed ten days ago, I argued that the time has long since come for Israel to once and for all militarily defeat Hamas:
To again borrow from one of my favorite (perhaps apocryphal) Einstein aphorisms: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ...
It is long past time for Israel to take decisive action, cease the pitiful cycle of perpetually "mowing the grass" in Gaza, and once and for all muster the courage to order a full-on land invasion to extirpate the Sunni supremacist Hamas terror regime that is in power there. ...
Yes, the world would howl and shriek. The Jew-hating ignoramuses of the "international community" — best embodied by that wretched hive of Western values-hating scum and anti-Semitic villainy known as the United Nations — would cry out in agony against Israel's "militarism."
Whatever. Let them do it. Because there is no chance that, if Netanyahu and the Israeli government forcefully made the case of the necessity for such a comprehensive invasion to Trump, that Trump would not abide and enthusiastically support it. ...
This madness has truly gone on way too long. It is time for Netanyahu and the Israeli government to heed Einstein's advice. Stop this insanity.