Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired more than 30 rocket and mortar shells into southern Israel over the last day.  Residents of the southern Eshkol region awoke to the sounds of explosions and had to rush for cover in safe rooms to protect them from the incoming missiles.  Fortunately, the missiles landed in open areas and caused no damage with the exception of one home that was damaged by shrapnel.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad said the attack on Israel was a response  to Israel’s air strike against two members of an al-Qaida affiliated cell on Sunday night.  Israeli forces severely wounded 23-year-old Talat Khalil Muhammad Jerbi, and 24-year-old Abdullah Mohammed Hassan Makawi during that attack.  The two were in the finals stages of preparing a large terrorist attack against Israelis from the Sinai Peninsula.

Makawi is a member of the Ashura council of Holy Fighters on the Edge of Jerusalem which is an al-Qaida-inspired organization based in Gaza.  Talat had had involvement in previous attacks against Israel including the June 18 attack from Sinai on the Israeli border, which killed an Israeli civilian.  Makawi died on Monday evening as a result of his wounds.

The Israel Defense Forces have responded via the air force and tanks.   The tanks fired at Hamas terrorists hiding inside a mosque in southern Gaza.  According to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an and a Gaza health ministry spokesman, five Palestinians were moderately injured in the IDF operations.

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