Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 21, 2014

Gaza militants fire missile, rockets at Israel


Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Militants from the Gaza Strip fired a missile at Israeli troops patrolling the border and several rockets into the country’s south on Monday, the last day of the Passover holiday, the military said. No injuries were reported.

The attacks drew retaliatory airstrikes by Israeli aircraft, hitting targets of the Islamic militant group Hamas, the Israeli military said. Hamas said a total of seven airstrikes targeted training centers used by the group.

Gaza ambulance services said four Hamas members were wounded in the strikes.

The military said it was responding “to the latest severe aggression emanating from Gaza.” The rockets damaged some infrastructure in southern Israel, it said.

According to the military, the latest bout of attacks started late Sunday when an explosive device went off targeting Israeli troops along the border. It said that 12 hours later, Palestinian militants in Gaza fired a missile at soldiers on patrol in the same area. After that, at least seven rockets were fired into southern Israel, it said.

“It is our obligation to seek out and target those who wish to attack our civilians and soldiers and to eliminate their capabilities,” said military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

He said the sound of explosions and of the sirens warning of incoming rockets shattered the quiet of the Passover holiday in the south. “Hamas rocket terrorism is an intolerable reality Israelis should not have to accept,” he said.

Rocket fire and other attacks from Gaza have declined since an Israeli campaign aimed at ending what were then almost daily attacks in 2012, but they still persist. Last month, Gaza militants fired the heaviest barrages since that offensive.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for attacks from Gaza since the group took control of the territory in 2007, ousting forces from the Fatah party, led by the Western-backed secular Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinians have been deeply divided since then, with Hamas ruling Gaza while Abbas governs part of the West Bank.