The Israeli military cited a sharp increase in missile and rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian militias from the Gaza Strip. The military said the renewal of strikes came in January 2014.
“Since the beginning of 2014, over 28 rockets were launched from Gaza at Israel by Gaza terrorists,” the Israeli military said.
In a statement on Jan. 31, the military said rocket attacks during the month were nearly triple those of December 2013. In December, the military cited 10 rocket strikes from the Gaza Strip.
Fourteen of the rockets landed in southern Israel, and five were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, as they were approaching Ashkelon built up areas,” the military said. “In retaliation to these rocket attacks, IAF aircraft targeted numerous terror sites across the Gaza strip. In addition, at the beginning of January 2014, IAF aircrafts targeted a terror squad during final preparations to launch rockets at southern Israel.”
Military sources said Hamas was not directly participating in most of the rocket launches. But they said Hamas was not arresting rocket squads from such militias as Islamic Jihad, Popular Resistance Committees and Al Qaida-aligned militias.
The statement did not explain the sharp rise in attacks. In January 2014, the military targeted two leading rocket commanders — identified them as Ahmed Saad and Ahmed Zaanin.
On Jan. 31, Palestinian gunners fired rockets into Israel. The Israel Air Force responded by air strikes that targeted three unidentified men and Hamas training facilities in northern Gaza.
“In response to the rocket fire at Israel, IAF aircraft targeted overnight a terror activity site and a weapon manufacturing facility in the northern Gaza Strip and a weapon storage facility in the southern Gaza Strip,” the military said. “Direct hits were confirmed.”