IDF strikes Islamic Jihad in Syria, Gaza in response to rocket fire, killing 2

In a highly irregular move, the Israel Defense Forces launched a series of retaliatory airstrikes on Palestinian Islamic Jihad sites in both Syria and the Gaza Strip on Sunday night in response to waves of rocket attacks by the Iran-backed terror group throughout the evening, the military said.

“IDF fighter jets struck terror sites belonging to the PIJ terror group south of Damascus in Syria, as well as dozens of PIJ sites throughout the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said in a statement.

Islamic Jihad said that two if its members were killed in the attack near Damascus.

Israel rarely acknowledges conducting airstrikes in Syria, save for those that are in retaliation to attacks coming from there.

Rocket attacks against southern Israel continued throughout the IDF’s counter-attack, triggering several rounds of sirens in the town of Sderot and the surrounding area.

Throughout Sunday evening, some 30 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, approximately half of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

The rocket fire came after an irregular clash along the Gaza border earlier in the day in which Israeli troops shot dead a member Palestinian Islamic Jihad as he planted an improvised explosive device along the border. The Israeli military then retrieved his body, using a bulldozer.

The IDF said the strikes in Syria and Gaza were in response to both the morning’s attempted IED attack and the rocket fire throughout the evening.

“The IDF will respond aggressively to the terrorist activities of the Islamic Jihad, which endanger the citizens of Israel and harm its sovereignty,” the military said.

The IDF said its fighter jets targeted the main base of the Iran-backed terror group in Syria, which it said was used to develop new weapons and to manufacture “tens of kilograms of ammonium perchlorate rocket fuel each month.

The military said the site, in the Damascus suburb of al-Adleyeh, was also used for training exercises for members of the organization “both from the Strip and on the northern front,” referring to Lebanon and Syria.

Syrian state media outlet SANA reported that the incoming Israeli attacks triggered the country’s air defenses, which it said intercepted many of the incoming missiles, an oft-heard Syrian claim that most defense analysts dismiss as a false boast.

In addition to the strikes outside Damascus, the IDF bombed several Islamic Jihad sites in the Gaza Strip. The military said one of its aircraft also targeted a group of Islamic Jihad members preparing to launch rockets from the northern Gaza Strip and that “a hit was identified.” The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry reported that four people were injured in the strike

The IDF confirmed reports in Palestinian media that it struck military bases and weapons depots belonging to the terror group in Beit Lahiya, Rafah and Khan Younis.

The military first bombed the Islamic Jihad’s Hittin military base in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.

“In Rafah, underground facilities and depots for storing rocket manufacturing ingredients were attacked,” the IDF said.

Palestinian media reported that two Palestinians were injured in this strike, with the Israeli Air Force firing at least 18 missiles at the site, completely destroying it.

In Khan Younis, the IDF said it struck an Islamic Jihad command center, which contained an anti-tank guided missile training center and military equipment used by the group’s naval commandos.

In light of the exchange of fire on Sunday night, the IDF Home Front Command ordered schools to close Monday in the communities closest to the Gaza Strip, including the cities of Ashkelon, Sderot, and Netivot. Large outdoor gatherings were also forbidden, and residents of the area were only permitted to go to work if they were in close proximity to a bomb shelter.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-strikes-islamic-jihad-targets-in-gaza-in-response-to-rocket-attacks/