On Monday, Hamas vowed to take revenge for the deaths of seven of its members killed during Israeli airstrikes in Rafah, Gaza. The IDF airstrikes came in response to the nearly fifty rockets fired into Southern Israel since Sunday night. Over 200 rockets have been fired at Israel in the past month alone.
On Sunday alone the Israeli Air Force hit 14 targets in retaliation for rockets and mortars fired into southern Israel. In a major escalation, several rockets reached the sizeable southern city of Beersheva, but no injuries were reported. The IDF also mentioned that Israeli troops were attacked along the Gaza-Israel border with an anti-tank missile.
A file photo showing Iron Dome launching a missile interceptor. (Photo: Reuters)
Meanwhile, the Israeli military has call up 1,500 reserve troops on Monday as well and stationed two additional brigades, the Paratroopers and Givati, to the border due to the violence. Some of the soldiers will help operate Iron Dome batteries, which have already intercepted at least seven incoming projectiles from Gaza. While the army’s position remains defensive, commanders are preparing for escalated confrontation along the border.
Tensions are high in Israel since three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and subsequently killed while attempting to hitchhike near Hebron last month. Hamas applauded the deaths but has denied direct operational responsibility. Several hours after the boys’ funerals, Mohamed Abu Khader, a 17-year-old Israeli Arab, was kidnapped and killed by Israeli extremists, according to their own confessions. While Prime Minister Netanyahu has vigorously condemned the murder, thousands of Arabs have rioted across Israel and the West Bank, destroying property, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, and blocking roads while security forces attempt to contain the riots.