Rockets Fired from Gaza Interrupt Memorial Ceremony
A memorial ceremony marking the 24th birthday of an Israeli soldier killed during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, the ground invasion of the Gaza Strip aimed at silencing rocket fire into Israel, was interrupted when air raid sirens sounded on Sunday heralding incoming rounds. One rocket lightly damaged a building while two other missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Israel’s reaction was immediate. Return tank fire and bombing runs by jet fighters were reported by sources in the Gaza Strip. Neither the Israeli nor Palestinian sides reported any injuries as a result of the back-and-forth. Israel has been demanding that Hamas return the bodies of two soldiers killed during the Gaza operation be returned to Israel but despite third-party intervention, no agreement is believed to be in sight. The number of rockets and mortar rounds fired into Israel by Palestinians in Gaza has increased markedly since President Trump declared America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Israeli leaders are trying to emphasize the role Iran plays in fomenting violence, charging that the explosive rounds fired into Israel are manufactured and delivered to Gaza-based terrorist groups by Iran. Even those who believe Hamas is not behind the rockets are certain that Salafist groups in Gaza that are supported by Iran are. Nevertheless, it is Israeli policy to hold Hamas, as the entity governing the Gaza Strip, responsible for any and all violent acts against the Jewish state.
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