CAIRO, May 17. /TASS/. The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip, announced a new wave of massive rocket bombardments of Israeli cities and army bases in response to Israel’s strikes, the Gaza radicals said in a statement broadcast by the Sawt Al-Aqsa radio station on Monday.
"We announce the start of a large-scale rocket response to the enemy’s rampage against our people in Gaza last night and the continued aggression against Palestinians," the statement says.
In particular, the Hamas radicals claimed an attack of an Israeli naval ship near the Palestinian enclave’s shores. The Israeli command confirmed the attack on the naval ship but said that the Palestinian radicals had missed the target.
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades also announced that they had shelled Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel. Similar attacks are being carried out by Saraya al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigades), the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group. Palestinian radicals are now bombarding Israeli cities close to the Gaza Strip, including Sderot, Ashkelon, Beersheba among others. There have been reports of injuries and damage.
It has also been reported that a major commander of the Saraya Al-Quds militant group, Hussam Abu Harbid in charge of the Palestinian resistance forces in northern Gaza, has been eliminated in an Israeli airstrike in the enclave.
The intensive exchange of rocket fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip has been going on since May 10, following riots that erupted at East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque in early May. The clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police officers were triggered by an Israeli court’s ruling to evict several Palestinian families from the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood where they had been living for over a half of the century and hand the property over to Jewish settlers on the grounds that these homes had belonged to them before 1948.
According to the latest data, Palestinian militants’ rocket attacks have claimed the lives of at least ten Israelis and hundreds of others have been injured. Meanwhile, Israel’s artillery and air strikes have killed over 200 Palestinians and injured more than 1,300 others in the enclave alone over the past week. Over 20 Arabs were killed in clashes and riots on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.