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26 Dec 2019 | 03:43 AM UTC

Israel/Palestinian Terr.: Israeli airstrikes target Gaza December 26

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carry out retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza on December 26; further cross-border attacks possible

security
ISR

Event

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) aircraft carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in the night (local time) between Wednesday, Decmeber 25, and Thursday, December 26, in retaliation for an earlier rocket attack targeting the city of Ashkelon, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hosting a campaign rally. No casualties were immediately reported in the airstrikes.

Further cross-border fire is possible along the Israeli-Gazan border over the coming hours and days, including rockets fired by Palestinian militants toward and into Israel and retaliatory IDF strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Context

Cross-border strikes significantly escalated on November 12 after the IDF targeted Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Al-Quds Brigade commander Bahaa Abu Al-Ata in a precision strike at his residence in the Shejaiyah area of Gaza. According to the IDF, Al-Ata was imminently planning to launch an attack against Israeli citizens and soldiers. Al-Ata has been accused of organizing hundreds of attacks in Israel and developing the rocket capabilities of the PIJ in the Gaza Strip. Cross-border rocket strikes have continued in recent weeks, despite a ceasefire between Israel and the PIJ that went into effect on November 14.

Advice

Individuals in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to monitor developments to the situation and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Seek immediate shelter in the event of a rocket attack.

Some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.