Militants in Gaza launched an estimated 600 rockets at Israelis in civilian areas all day Saturday and into Saturday night, and Israel has responded with a series of targeted airstrikes meant to take out terrorist enclaves.
Three Israelis have been killed, according to CNN, including a 58-year-old man whose home was hit by a rocket before he was able to get to safety. The three deaths represent the first Israeli deaths from Palestinian rocket fire since 2014, international media report.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health, a notoriously untrustworthy source, says four Palestinians have also been killed, including a pregnant woman and her toddler, though it appears the latter two were killed in a “friendly fire” incident when a Gaza militant’s rocket went awry, and not from an Israeli attack.
Israeli Defense Forces responded to the overwhelming barrage of rocket fire by targeting specific locations in the Gaza strip known to harbor members of Hamas and other terrorist organizations. As of Sunday morning, Israel officials say they’ve carried out around 260 targeted strikes, and that more targeted strikes against “terrorist elements” are planned unless rocket fire from Gaza ceases.
So far, Israeli forces have targeted tunnels, visible rocket launcher sites, and a mosque they said was being used as a strategic military headquarters. The IDF also reports that they targeted “several Hamas military compounds in the Gaza City neighborhoods of Tel Alawah and Shajiya used for training and manufacturing weapons,” according to JPost. “Other targets struck belonged to Hamas’ naval force and a joint military compound used by Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLO) in Beit Lahiya.”
“Hamas is the sovereign entity in Gaza, and it operates in coordination with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis told media Saturday. “At this moment, we are attacking military targets of the two organizations, and from last night there are five or six terrorists killed by the two organizations.”
Israeli officials have also closed off all border crossings between the Gaza strip and Israel proper, and limited fishing and other activities along the coastline.
“Hamas bears the responsibility not only for its own attacks and actions but also for the actions of Islamic Jihad, and it is paying a very heavy price for this,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a press conference Sunday morning.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) say the rocket fire began Saturday morning, and may be meant as retaliation “after two militants from Hamas’ armed wing, the Qassam Brigades were killed in an Israeli strike on Hamas posts in Gaza.” Militants in Gaza first fired around 50 rockets, but the grand total is now more than 600.
Last night, video emerged of Palestinians cheering in the streets as visible rocket fire flew overhead into Israel.
Palestinians in Gaza cheer and chant “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) as rockets targeting Israeli civilians are launched from nearby. pic.twitter.com/I7vA5dpRfU
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) May 4, 2019
Israelis are being told to shelter in place, and are being instructed not to attend any funeral services for those killed in Saturday’s attacks, out of fear that Hamas will deliberately target any memorial gathering.
This is a developing story and The Daily Wire will continue to follow it.