Israel says Palestinian militants are infiltrating from Gaza

Palestinian militants in Gaza carried out an infiltration into southern Israel, fired several rockets, and raised the likelihood of renewed heavy fighting.

Incident details: The Israeli military reported “a number of terrorists have infiltrated into Israeli territory” as militants launched dozens of rockets from Gaza towards Israel.
* This infiltration happened on Saturday when amateur videos on social media reportedly showed uniformed gunmen in the Israeli border town of Sderot.
* Accompanying the infiltration, militants fired a barrage of rockets into Israel early Saturday lasting over 30 minutes, triggering air-raid sirens across the country.

The aftermath: The rocket attacks resulted in injuries and widespread alerts across southern and central Israel.
* Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue agency reported a 70-year-old woman critically injured when a rocket hit a building in southern Israel and a 20-year-old man moderately injured by rocket shrapnel.
* Amidst continuing attacks, Israelis were urged to stay close to bomb shelters, and residents near Gaza were instructed to remain in their homes due to the “security incident.”

Background conflict: This latest violence follows weeks of increased tensions along Israel’s border with Gaza and heavy fighting in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
* Israel has maintained a blockade over Gaza since Hamas, an Islamic militant group opposed to Israel, took control of the territory in 2007.
* The blockade restricts movement of people and goods, devastating Gaza’s economy, yet Israel claims it is necessary to prevent militant groups from building up their arsenals.
* Heavy fighting is ongoing in the West Bank, where nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military raids this year.

Current state of tensions: The possibility of further conflict could be heightened by this incident.
* Although no organization claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, Israel typically holds Hamas responsible for any fire from the territory, suggesting potential airstrikes as a response.
* Violent demonstrations by Hamas-linked activists along the Israeli border in recent weeks have also escalated tensions, despite a halt in late September after international mediation.

View original article on NPR

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