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Israeli warplanes strike Gaza after 100-rocket barrage from Islamic Jihad

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GAZA CITY — Israel’s Air Force struck targets in the Gaza Strip after the Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad launched a rocket offensive against Israel.

Jihad and its Palestinian militia allies fired nearly 100 rockets into Israel. The barrage on March 12 marked the most intense fire from the Gaza Strip since Israel’s war in 2012.

Israel's Air Force is said to have targeted two Islamic Jihad bases in Gaza Strip on March 12.

Israel’s Air Force is said to have targeted two Islamic Jihad bases in the Gaza Strip on March 12.

“The Al Quds Brigades will not break the truce [with Israel], but will retain the right to respond to Zionist aggression at the right time and place,” Jihad spokesman Abu Ahmad said.

The barrage by Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees came in wake of the killing of three Jihad operatives in an Israeli air strike on March 11. The operatives were targeted after they fired mortars toward the Israeli Army positions.

The Israel Air Force was reported to have struck 31 targets in the Gaza Strip on March 12. The targets included two Jihad bases, one of them in Rafah along the border with Egypt.

The Jihad attack, which stemmed from northern and southern Gaza, did not cause serious injuries or damage. Israel’s Iron Dome batteries were said to have intercepted three Palestinian rockets over the southern city of Sderot.

“The Al Quds Brigades [of Jihad] responded to aggression by a salvo of
rockets,” Jihad, which reported firing 90 rockets, said.

Israel signaled that it did not want to escalate tensions with the Gaza
Strip. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel enjoyed unprecedented
calm in 2013 during the ceasefire with the Hamas regime.

“The number of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip in the last year has
been the lowest in a decade, but this is not enough for us,” Netanyahu said.
“We will continue acting to ensure the security of the people of Israel both
in the south and across the country.”

But Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that Jihad and
other Palestinian militias were preparing for a conflict with the Jewish
state. Lieberman urged the government to approve an invasion of the Gaza

“There are many terror hideouts and thousands of rockets in the strip,”
Liberman said. “And every day they increase weapons smuggling and bomb
production. And this is why we need to put an end to it.”

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