Tensions on Gaza Border: Hamas Drill Triggers Israeli Missile Defense System

Israel’s Iron dome missile defense system was activated several times late Sunday evening as a result of light artillery fire from a drill carried out by Hamas’ military arm in the Gaza Strip. 

Multiple rocket sirens sounded in southern Israeli communities near the Gaza border, including in the city of Ashkelon. Local residents said they heard several explosions, followed by reports of airplanes flying overhead.

– Itzik Klein

#בובום pic.twitter.com/mB6iWW8vjd

— איציק קליין (@izikla32) March 25, 2018

Itzik Klein

– Channel 10 News

עוטף עזה: מטח יירוטים @alonbd pic.twitter.com/62sW8hrp6Q

— חדשות עשר (@news10) March 25, 2018

Channel 10 News

>> Israel gears up for large-scale clashes along Gaza border | Analysis >>

The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military arm, carried a large-scale drill throughout the coastal enclave Sunday. Websites identified with Hamas said the drill simulated an overall frontal clash between Qassam Brigades units and the Israeli military, emphasizing that the drill practiced lines of defense, not attack.

Pictures that circulated in Gaza showed armed militants stationed all across the Strip, including in cities. In areas closer to the border fence, Hamas practiced a scenario in which Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers infiltrate Gaza; such a case was illustrated through usage of tank models and live fire. As part of the drill, militants also fired rockets toward the Mediterranean Sea.

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The drill came a day after the Israeli military said it struck a Hamas target in the Strip in retaliation for an incident earlier that day in which four Palestinians illegally crossed the border into Israel.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the incident started around 5 P.M. on Saturday when four Palestinians carrying bottles filled with flamable material approached the fence on foot and managed to cross the border into Israel near Kibbutz Kissufim.