Sunday, 25 Feb 2018 - 10 of Adar, 5778

Israel deploys Iron Dome over Ashkelon region following launch of rockets from Gaza

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JERUSALEM (EJP)—The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) deployed the Iron Dome rocket defense system in Ashdod, Beersheba and Sderot after two rockets launched from Gaza landed near Ashkelon early Thursday.

Explosions were heard by residents as the projectiles fell in open areas, failing to cause injuries or damage.

The IDF remained on high alert along the Gaza border in case of an escalation following a deadly cross-border shooting of an Israeli civilian.

In response, Israel Air Force (IAF) aircrafts targeted terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. A weapon manufacturing facility was targeted in the Central Gaza Strip, and a weapon storage facility was targeted in the Northern Gaza Strip.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel will not tolerate “a trickling of terrorism from Gaza, where Hamas is sovereign, and we see it as responsible for all provocations against our civilians and soldiers. We won’t allow life in the South to be disrupted, and we’ll respond decisively against any harm to our sovereignty.”

“In recent years, our enemies understood that Israel’s military power, which is expressed here as well, will not allow them to realize their ambitions to wipe us off the map,’’ he added. ‘’That’s why they turned to missiles and rockets, terrorism and deligitimization, and now, they seek to develop nuclear weapons to threaten Israel, the Middle East and the whole world.”

The IDF announced that a resident of the Gaza Strip was in the process of planning a sniper attack on IDF soldiers, when he was injured and entered Israel with a humanitarian permit for medical care in Ramallah.

Earlier this month, the ISA (Israel Security Agency or Shin Bet Security Service), with the assistance of the Israel Police, arrested the terrorist operative from the Gaza Strip’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades who has been involved in terrorist activity in recent years against civilians and soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, including the planning of a sniper attack.

Mohammad Tzaber Mohammed Abu Amsha, a 32-year-old resident of Beit Hanun, admitted that he was training to be a sniper in an attack targeted at IDF soldiers along the Gaza Strip border fence. In order to research different ways to carry out the terror attack, he said he had collected information on IDF patrol movements in different areas, and information on their target practice exercises.

In the process of planning the attack Abu Amsha said he experienced an eye condition which impaired his sniping ability. He therefore requested to enter Israel with a humanitarian permit in order to receive medical treatment in a Ramallah hospital. The attack was postponed until his return to Gaza once his eyesight was to be restored.

“Israel authorizes the entrance of thousands of Gaza residents monthly for humanitarian and medical purposes,” said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner. ”This instance of abuse of a permit for terrorist intentions, is loathsome, and poses a violation that jeopardizes the access for medical aid Israel and Judea and Samaria so many Palestinian enjoy”.

Abu Amsha will be indicted today in the Beer Sheva District Court on three counts: attempted murder, contact with an outside agent, and involvement in a crime (murder).

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