‘Terrorists are watching us’: the place of Hamas hit after the launch of rockets still worries the border city

Residents of a community near the Gaza border on Saturday expressed disappointment that an Israeli Defense Forces airstrike in response to rocket fire had not destroyed a Hamas observation post overlooking their homes.

The lookout position near Netiv Ha’asara was one of four targets hit by the Israeli Defense Forces after a rocket was fired at the coastal city of Ashkelon overnight.

Residents have long expressed concern about the raised observation post overlooking a wall that was supposed to protect the city from attack.

Before the strikes, members of the Hamas terrorist group could be seen standing guard inside the observation post.

Immediately after the rocket was launched shortly after 3 a.m., Hamas members were seen removing cameras and equipment from the location before abandoning it, public broadcaster Kan reported.

A few hours later, the IDF carried out a precision attack on the position, destroying the cabin but not its supporting structure.

Yifat Ben-Shoshan, also a resident of Netiv Ha’asara, told news site Walla that she did not understand why the military had not completely cleared the position.

“The place in front of Netiv Ha’asara was not destroyed, but damaged,” he said. “The infrastructure is still there. If they were already bombing it, then they should have completely destroyed it. “

An unnamed resident of Netiv Ha’asara told news site Ynet that the attack had sent a message to terrorist groups in Gaza but that the location would surely be rebuilt within days.

“We heard a very loud explosion early in the morning. I felt like it was really close. After a few minutes we were told that they had hit the observation post, “the resident said.

“I think [the security establishment] done right. It was our request: this position really bothered everyone. There was a feeling that the terrorists were watching over us all day, “the resident said.

“Of course, this is not a complete solution because of course they will rebuild it in a few days, but the message has been sent and it is no less important,” he said.

View of a concrete wall in the Israeli farming community of Netiv Ha’asara, December 12, 2014 (Doron Horowitz / FLASH90)

Another resident told Channel 12 news that he believed the residents had been mocked by the security establishment for not destroying the lookout post.

“Are they making fun of us? Hamas will repair the damage within five minutes and we will once again be sitting ducks, “she said.” This location is right above our homes. “

In the images and footage, the pole appeared to be severely damaged following two attacks, but was still mostly standing.

Residents of Netiv Ha’asara reported hearing gunfire in the wake of the strikes, but there was no confirmation from the military.

The attacks came after Palestinian terrorists fired a rocket towards the southern coastal city of Ashkelon in the early hours of Saturday, the first shell fired at Israel from Hamas-ruled Gaza since April.

The rocket was launched shortly after 3am and warning sirens were activated in Ashkelon, along with several farming communities near the Gaza border.

According to the Israeli Defense Forces, the rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

There were no injuries or damage and no terrorist group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The bullet was the first to be fired at Israel from Hamas-ruled Gaza since late April.

The military waited several hours to respond to the rocket fire, targeting sites in Gaza during daylight hours.

The IDF said fighter jets and other planes hit a weapons production facility at a Hamas military site in central Gaza, as well as three observation posts near the border.

The video posted on social media showed fireballs and smoke rising from the site in central Gaza following the airstrikes.

A fire broke out on June 18, 2022 following an Israeli air strike south of Gaza City in response to rocket fire towards Ashkelon (Eyad BABA / AFP)

While the IDF holds Hamas the ultimate responsibility for any terror emanating from the Gaza Strip, Israel was examining whether the rocket was launched overnight by Islamic Jihad terrorists in response to the deaths of three Palestinians killed in a firefight with Israeli troops early Friday in Jenin, in Hebrew – language news reports reported without citing a source.

According to the military, the soldiers were shot while operating in the northern West Bank city and “neutralized” the gunmen who shot them.

The latest missile strike came the day after the IDF touted new defensive measures as key to preserving one of the quietest periods along the Gaza border in years, as Hamas is working to circumvent them in a potential surprise attack just over. a year after the parties. fought an 11-day conflict.

Also on Friday, an IDF observation balloon crashed in Gaza under controversial circumstances. Palestinian media reports said the balloon was shot down, while the military said it disconnected from the anchor for unknown reasons.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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