A rocket launched by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip on Saturday fell short of its target in Israel and hit a Palestinian home within the Strip, killing several children, Israeli military officials said.
Palestinian media blamed Israel for the strike near a mosque in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, which saw seven people killed altogether, including four children.
But Israel Defense Forces officials said that no strike had been carried out in that area and further added that the military’s rocket detection system clearly showed the rocket being launched only to misfire and end up exploding inside the refugee camp.
“On our radar, we see the launch and impact and can see it was them failing and hitting themselves,” a spokesman said.
A second official said: “We have videos that prove beyond doubt that this is not an Israeli attack. It has been unequivocally proven that it was a failed Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket launch.”
Israel’s Channel 12 broadcast a video showing the botched rocket launch.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s spokesperson Keren Hajioff said the “world should be outraged at this terrorist group targeting innocent Israelis and killing innocent Gazans.”
“Islamic Jihad is killing Palestinian children in Gaza. One in four rockets fired from Gaza towards Israel – lands inside the Gaza Strip,” she noted. “Iran’s proxies – including PIJ – have a long history of hiding behind civilians to target Israeli civilians.”
“Israel will continue to stand up to this vicious terrorist organization – which threatens Israelis and Palestinians alike,” Hajioff said.
Public diplomacy official Elad Tene said the incident constituted a “double war crime” by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ] terrorist organization. “It is shooting at civilians, and using Gazan civilians as human shields.
“This incident is an example of Islamic Jihad harming the residents of Gaza. All harm to innocent civilians is tragic.”
Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip have launched more than 350 rockets at Israel in 24 hour. Around 100 of those have misfired and fallen within the Strip, the IDF said. The Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted 95 percent of the 170 rockets fired into civilian population centers. Rocket sirens blared in several Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, over Saturday, with Israelis forced to run to bomb shelters.
The flareup began in the wake of the arrest of Bassam al-Sa’adi, the leader of PIJ in the West Bank, which the terror group was seeking to avenge by attacking Israeli targets around the border with Gaza.
The Israeli air force has conducted numerous strikes in Gaza targeting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group as part of Operation Breaking Dawn launched Friday to tackle what Israeli leaders said was an immediate concrete threat by the PIJ to Israeli communities.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said that the goal of the latest campaign, dubbed Operation Breaking Dawn, was “the elimination of a concrete threat.”
“Israel will continue to act without hesitation to ensure the peace of its residents,” he said at a cabinet meeting on Saturday night.
Earlier in the evening, Israeli media said the IDF had killed Khalid Mansour, the head of the PIJ’s military wing in the southern Strip.
A day earlier, Israel assassinated senior PIJ commander Tayseer al-Jabari, the mastermind behind hundreds of rocket attacks during last year’s 11-day war in May.
Maj. Gen. Oded Basyuk, head of Operations Directorate in the Israel Defense Forces, told reporters on Saturday that “all top Islamic Jihad security officials in the [Gaza] Strip have been assassinated.”