‘Terrorists are watching us’: Hamas post hit by rocket fire still worries border town

Residents of a community near the Gaza border expressed disappointment on Saturday that an Israel Defense Forces airstrike in response to rocket fire failed to destroy a Hamas observation post overlooking their homes .

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

Residents have long worried about the elevated observation post overlooking a wall meant to protect the city from attack.

Before the strikes, members of the Hamas terror group could be seen guarding inside the observation position.

Immediately after the rocket was fired shortly after 3 a.m., Hamas operatives were seen removing cameras and equipment from the position before abandoning it.

A few hours later, the IDF carried out two precision strikes on the position, destroying the cabin but not its support structure.

On Saturday afternoon, Hamas operatives returned to the mostly standing structure to begin restoring it. Footage showed they raised the flags of the terror group and its armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

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

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

An unnamed Netiv Ha’asara resident told the Ynet news site that the strike sent a message to terror groups in Gaza but that the position was sure to 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 reached the observation post,” the resident said.

“I think [the security establishment] did well. That was our request — this post really bothered everyone. It felt like the terrorists were watching over us all day,” the resident said.

“Of course it’s not a complete solution because obviously they’re going to rebuild it in a few days, but the message got through and that’s 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 that he felt security officials were mocking residents because of the failure to destroy the lookout post.

“Are we being made fun of? Hamas will repair the damage within five minutes, and we will be sitting ducks again,” he said. “This position is right above our houses.”

Residents of Netiv Ha’asara reported hearing gunshots following the strikes, but there was no confirmation from the army.

The strikes were carried out after Palestinian terrorists fired a rocket towards the southern coastal city of Ashkelon in the early hours of Saturday, the first projectile to be launched at Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip since April.

The rocket was fired shortly after 3 a.m. and warning sirens were activated in Ashkelon, as well as several farming communities near the Gaza border.

According to the Israel 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 projectile was the first to be launched at Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip since late April.

The army waited several hours before responding to rocket fire, targeting sites in Gaza during the day.

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

Video posted on social media showed fireballs and smoke rising from the site in central Gaza after the airstrikes.

A fire breaks out following an Israeli airstrike south of Gaza City on June 18, 2022, in response to rocket fire towards Ashkelon. (Eyad Baba/AFP)

While the IDF holds Hamas ultimately responsible for any terror emanating from the Gaza Strip, Israel was examining whether the rocket was fired overnight by Islamic Jihad terrorists in response to the deaths of three Palestinians killed in a a shootout with Israeli troops early Friday in Jenin, Hebrew. -language news outlets reported without citing a source.

According to the army, the soldiers came under fire while operating in the northern West Bank city and “neutralized” the gunmen who had fired on them.

The latest rocket attack came a day after the IDF touted new defensive measures as essential to preserve one of the quietest periods along the Gaza border in years, while warning Hamas that it tries to circumvent them during a possible surprise attack a little more than a year after the games. fought an 11-day conflict.

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

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