Residents of a community near the Gaza border expressed disappointment Saturday that an IDF airstrike in response to rocket fire did not destroy a Hamas observation post overlooking their homes.
The observation post near Netiv Ha’Asara was one of four targets hit by the Israeli army after being hit by a missile Fired Overnight in the coastal city of Ashkelon.
Residents have long expressed concerns about a raised lookout point overlooking a wall that was meant to protect the city from attacks.
Prior to the strikes, members of Hamas were seen guarding inside the observation post.
Kan public radio reported that as soon as the rocket was launched, shortly after 3 am, Hamas members were seen removing cameras and equipment from the site before abandoning it.
A few hours later, the Israeli army launched a precision strike on the site, destroying the cabin but not the supporting structure.
צהל תקף הבוקר מהאוויר את העמדה שהטרידה את תושבי נתיב העשרה. העמדה נפגעה, אבל עדיין עומדת. pic.twitter.com/ECRcy4sqx5
– almog boker (bokeralmog) June 18 2022
Yifat Ben-Shushan, also a resident of Netiv Hasara, told the Walla news site that she did not understand why the military had not rescinded the position entirely.
“The site in front of Netiv Hassara was not destroyed, it was damaged,” she said. “The infrastructure is still there. If they are actually bombing it, they should completely destroy it.”
A Netiv Hasara resident, who was not named, told the Ynet news site that the raid sent a message to Palestinian factions in Gaza, but that the site is sure to be rebuilt within days.
We heard a loud explosion early in the morning. I felt it was very close. After a few minutes we were told that they had targeted the observation point.”
“I suspect [the security establishment] Well done. This was our request – this situation really bothered everyone. “There was a feeling that the terrorists were watching us all day,” one resident said.
“Of course, this is not a complete solution because they will obviously rebuild it in a few days, but the message has been sent and this is just as important,” he said.
Another resident told Channel 12 news that he felt ridiculed by the residents by the security establishment for failing to destroy the observation point.
“Is he making fun of us? Hamas will repair the damage in five minutes and we will sit down again.” “This position is directly above our homes.”
In photos and video footage, the post appeared to be badly damaged after a couple of raids, but it was still mostly holding up.
Residents of Netiv Ha’asara reported hearing gunfire following the strikes, but there was no confirmation from the army.
The strikes were carried out after Palestinian militants fired a rocket towards the southern port city of Ashkelon in the early hours of Saturday, the first to be fired at Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip since April.
The missile was launched shortly after three o’clock in the morning, and sirens were sounded in Ashkelon, along with a number of agricultural communities near the Gaza border.
According to the IDF, the missile was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
There were no casualties or damage, and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
The missile is the first fired at Israel from Hamas-ruled Gaza since late April.
The army waited several hours before responding to the firing of rockets at targets in Gaza during the day.
The Israeli military said fighter jets and other aircraft bombed a weapons production facility at a Hamas military site in central Gaza, as well as three observation points close to the border.
A video posted on social media showed fireballs and smoke rising from the outpost in central Gaza after the airstrikes.
While the IDF holds Hamas ultimately responsible for any terrorism emanating from the Gaza Strip, Israel has been examining whether the rocket was launched during the night by Islamic Jihad terrorists in response to the killing of three Palestinians Died in a gunfight With Israeli forces early Friday in Jenin, Hebrew-language news outlets reported without quoting a source.
According to the army, the soldiers were shot while they were working in the northern West Bank city and “neutralizing” the gunmen who shot them.
The latest missile attack came a day after the Israeli army launched described New defensive measures as key to maintaining one of the quietest periods along the Gaza border in years, while Hamas warns against being circumvented in a possible surprise attack just over a year after the two sides engaged in an 11-day conflict.
Also Friday, an IDF surveillance balloon has crashed In Gaza under disputed circumstances. Palestinian media reports claimed that the balloon was shot down, while the army said the balloon separated from the anchor for unknown reasons.
Emmanuel Fabian contributed to this report.