Rockets fired by Hamas at Israel that fell short within the Gaza Strip killed 17 residents in the hours preceding Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operations on Monday, according to an Israeli security official, as the IDF reiterated that errant missiles launched by the terrorist group continued to kill Palestinian civilians during the current hostilities.
The volleys of over 1,750 missiles fired into Israeli territory by Palestinian terrorist groups since fighting began Monday has included at least 300 errant rockets — falling short within the Gaza Strip and causing casualties that Hamas officials have blamed on Israel, according to the IDF.
The rocket barrage began by Hamas firing missiles towards Jerusalem on Monday, after a 6 p.m. “ultimatum” elapsed which had called for Israel to withdraw security forces from the Temple Mount and release Palestinian prisoners. An Israeli security official said that the deaths of 17 civilians in Gaza on Monday were caused by failed Hamas rockets — before Israel commenced retaliatory airstrikes against the terrorist group. The official cited international human rights organizations in Gaza, which published reports of the civilians’ deaths.
On Thursday, the IDF published a video of a misfired Hamas rocket that fell back into Gaza, noting that “this isn’t the 1st time — Hamas misfired 350 rockets in the last 3 days. These rockets result in the deaths of innocent Gazan civilians.”
“The current escalation proves again that the terrorist organizations cynically exploit their own people for their own interests. They are targeting the citizens of the State of Israel, and doing so from civilian structures such as education facilities, populated neighborhoods and more, while Gaza residents constitute a human shield,” said Lt. Col. Elad Goren, head of the civil department of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) during a briefing.
“Israel will keep doing everything in its power to avoid harming the population of the Gaza Strip, and will act determinately against those trying to hurt its citizens — and especially the terrorist organization Hamas,” he added.
“Palestinian rockets from Gaza are misfiring & landing in Gaza,” said Hillel Neuer, director of the NGO UN Watch, in response to the IDF footage. “Many of these are killing Palestinians including children.”
During past conflicts with Hamas, casualties initially attributed by Gazan officials and media reports to Israeli operations were later said by the IDF to have been caused by errant rockets, including two deadly 2014 explosions at the Al-Shifa hospital and Al-Shati refugee camp.
“After a year and a half fighting COVID-19 in Gaza with the assistance of the international community and the efforts led by Israel to promote and coordinate the assistance, Hamas is choosing to escalate the situation in the Gaza Strip, and instead of focusing on welfare and economy — it’s focusing on violence and incitement,” said Goren.
On Tuesday this week, a failed Hamas rocket that fell short damaged power lines in the Gaza Strip cutting off more than 230,000 residents from electricity, according to the security official. As a result, Gaza residents now have 5 hours on average of electricity supply per day versus 12 hours per day on average before the escalation. In addition, the power line to the Rafah sewage treatment plant has been damaged and the lines to the Gaza sewage treatment plant are down.
“The current lack of electricity in the Gaza Strip is caused due to Hamas. The terrorist organization has chosen to waste the Strip’s resources — particularly electricity — in order to launch rockets toward Israel rather than providing electricity to its own residents and for civil matters,” said a senior COGAT official.
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Author: Sharon Wrobel
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