Shortly before midnight on Sunday evening, sirens sounded in the areas of Lehavim and Rahat in the Bnei Shimon Regional Council, which adjoins the north of Be'er Sheva, and in the town of Netivot in the northwestern Negev. Residents in Lehavim and Rahat reported hearing the reverberations of explosions. A short time later, Israel Police reported that that a rocket had exploded in an open field in the Rahat area. Following that, shortly after midnight, sirens sounded in the Ashkelon Regional Council, where the Iron Dome battery there intercepted two rockets. [Haaretz]Fortunately, according to Times of Israel, there are no reports so far of injuries to people or serious damage to property. It offers additional details about a barrage of (so far) six civilian-seeking rockets fired into Israel.
Four of the rockets exploded in open areas near Netivot and the Bnei Shimon region, west of Beersheba. The Iron Dome system intercepted two of the projectiles, believed to be Grad rockets. Sirens were also heard near the Beduin town of Rahat in the Negev and in the Ashkelon Regional Council. The IDF assessment was that the rockets were launched from the northern Gaza Strip, according to Israel Radio. [Times of Israel]Why such a massive attack? And why now? A sudden rise in the level of the 'desperation' of the folks living in the "world's largest concentration camp"? Not really.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization, which has its own army (an estimated 8,000 'operatives'), its own massive arsenal of rockets, its own political agenda, its own direct line to its paymasters in Iran, is having an open feud [see EoZ's backgrounder here] with the Hamas overlords whose regime runs Gaza. Yesterday (Sunday), a little before the hail of rockets, PIJ announced that it is suspending ties with Hamas.
The rift came after a confrontation Saturday between Hamas policemen and a senior Islamic Jihad member whom they were trying to take him into custody for interrogation. The suspect was killed in the standoff, Israel Radio reported, with Hamas alleging that he committed suicide. “Islamic Jihad today suspended its contacts with Hamas after police opened fire yesterday on one of the commanders of the Al-Quds Brigades, Raed Jundiya, 38, inflicting serious injuries from which he died this morning,” AFP quoted a leader of the extremist group as saying. “The murder of Raed Jundiya represents a major service to the Zionist enemy, provided completely free of charge, whether deliberately or not, because the martyr was, as everybody knows, on the top of the Zionists’ hit-list as he headed the Brigades’ rocket unit,” he said. [Times of Israel]Past experience suggests this is likely to get worse before it stops.