Israeli aircraft struck Hamas positions in Gaza before dawn Saturday, Nov. 16, after Beersheba came under rocket attack Friday night. It was the first time the IDF had targeted Hamas for reprisals in the ongoing clash with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The two large Grad rockets that shook Beersheba’s population of quarter of a million were intercepted by Iron Dome. Nine people suffered minor injuries or shock as they ran for shelter in response to the rocket sirens.
The Islamic Jihad was making a point: Its rocket war on Israel was not over, although the IDF’s Home Command insisted on ending the war emergency after an agreed ceasefire went into force early Thursday to end the 450-rocket blitz that had shut down the towns and villages of the South for 48 hours. The IDF hailed its Operation Black Belt, launched with the killing of the Jihad senior commander Baha Abu Al-Atta, and the wrecking of its terrorist infrastructure in Gaza as a victory. Israel’s leaders refused to accept that the war was still ongoing – even when Jihad fired three salvos after the ceasefire. The IDF Home Command insisted that the local councils reopen schools and return to their normal routines. After disobeying the order on Friday, they agreed to restart classes on Sunday.