In less than an hour, more than 11 rockets were fired at Sderot including one that made a direct hit to residential property on Friday evening.
No one was hurt and eight of the rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome air defense system. One rocket landed in the garden of a private home, but the family was in their shelter and was unharmed. Five people were treated for shock and a 65-year-old woman was injured while running to safety.
In response, the IDF hit a number of targets in Gaza, including military installations, a training facility, weapons storage and underground infrastructure. According to Palestinian news reports, one person was killed and two injured in these attacks.
While no organization has taken responsibility, Islamic Jihad is more likely to be involved than Hamas. As the second largest terror organization in the Gaza Strip, Islamic Jihad is often more radical and, unlike Hamas, is not responsible for the civilian population. The organization is less inclined to bow to pressure from Egypt to maintain a cease fire, especially since it gets a bulk of its financial support from Iran.
Nevertheless, Israel holds Hamas responsible for any attack coming out of the territory.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said last week that the situation in both northern and southern Israel is fragile and could easily escalate to a conflict even though Israel’s enemies are not interested in war at the moment.
In an interview with Channel 12, Naftali Bennett, one of the leaders of the right-wing party Yamina and former member of the security cabinet, said that Iran is building a “ring of strangulation” around Israel. Iran has been filling the void since Trump’s evacuation from Syria.
Bennett has in the past expressed interest in becoming defense minister and some believe that Netanyahu is considering offering him that spot in the current interim government. Bennett is credited with exposing Hamas’s underground terror tunnels in the 2014 war against Gaza and insisting that the IDF destroy them.
Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza, ridiculed Israel for being unable to make decisions without an established government while Hamas is prepared for anything.
The IDF believes the current flare up is over, but remains prepared in the event of renewed attacks and escalation. Some news outlets reported that the Islamic Jihad has rockets that can reach as far as northern Israel.
On Sunday, Israel’s security cabinet met for five hours to discuss retaliatory options ranging from widening the IDF’s attacks or taking steps to alleviate restrictions on Gaza to further ramping up restrictions if rocket attacks start again.