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26 Jan 2020 | 03:08 PM UTC

Israel/Palestinian Terr.: Exchange of fire reported across Israeli-Gazan border January 26 /update 1

Exchange of fire reported across Israeli-Gazan border January 26, with no casualties immediately reported; further cross-border fire possible over the near term

security
ISR

Event

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out an airstrike on a Hamas observation post in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday, January 26, in retaliation for rocket fire and incendiary balloons fired at southern Israel by Gazan militants earlier on Sunday. The Gazan rocket reportedly hit an open field, and no casualties were reported from either side after the cross-border exchange.

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, 2019, 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 planning to imminently 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 shelter immediately 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.