Israel has been reeling under violence since a week due to constant clashes and confrontations with Palestinian protestors.
After a violent clash at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem that left around 200 injured, rockets from the Gaza Strip were launched towards the city of Ashkelon and surrounding communities of Israel on Saturday as well as Sunday night.
The Israel military in a report informed that one of the first pairs of rockets was successfully intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system while the second landed in an open, unpopulated area. No damage or injuries have been reported.
In a retaliatory response, the Israel Defense Forces on Monday said that its tanks had fired shells at a number of Hamas military posts in “a response to the rocket fire and arson balloons.”
The rockets were fired an hour after Israel announced the closure of the Gaza Strip’s fishing zone after it came under incessant attack of balloon-borne incendiary devices which caused dozens of fires and burned large areas of southern Israel, as well as a mortar attack on Sunday morning.
The incendiary balloon-attack
Gaza’s so-called “independent balloon unit” has been constantly attacking the Gaza border areas causing over a dozen fires with the message “this is just the beginning.”
Another smaller unit associated with the Gaza-based Mujahideen Brigades terror group announced on Saturday morning that they had begun mobilizing their members to initiate balloon attacks.
The strategy of launching balloon-borne incendiary and explosive devices from the Gaza Strip toward Israel has been used inconsistently over the past two years.
Al Aqsa attack
Around 250 Palestinians and 17 Israeli police officers are said to be reportedly injured in a violent clash that erupted between the Israeli riot police and Palestinians on Friday at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque.
Stones, bottles and fireworks were hurled at Israeli police officers who fired rubber bullets at the crowds gathered at the Al-Aqsa mosque which is of prime importance for both sects. The clash erupted as police officers tried to restore order after reports of “rioting of thousands of worshippers” following the evening prayers were received.
Sheikh Jarrah clashes
At the beginning of this year, a district court ruled four Palestinian homes in Sheikh Jarrah legally belong to Jewish families and should be handed over.
The Jewish plaintiffs claimed that their families lost the land during the war that accompanied Israel’s creation in 1948 while the Sheikh Jarrah families have provided evidence that their homes were acquired from Jordanian authorities.
Hundreds of Palestinians carried out rallies on Friday in Jordan chanting, “We will die for Sheikh Jarrah.”
As the international observers urged calm, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Vennesland has expressed deep concerns over the clash and asked both parties to uphold the status quo.