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Salafists claim responsibility for rocket, Israel launches strikes

June 7, 2015 10:08 A.M. (Updated: June 8, 2015 11:04 A.M.)
An Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on August 22, 2014. (AFP/Roberto Schmidt)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Salafist group has claimed responsibility for a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip towards the Israeli town of Ashkelon on Saturday night, as Israel carried out retaliatory airstrikes overnight.

In a statement issued Sunday, the group, calling itself "Sheikh Omar Hadid-Bayt al-Maqdis," claimed that its fighters had fired a Katyusha 130 rocket at Ashkelon on Saturday evening.

The statement is the second released by the group, after another last week claimed responsibility for an earlier rocket fired at Ashkelon.

Saturday's rocket fell in open ground with no injuries or damage reported.

In response, Israeli jets launched airstrikes on a military training base operated by Hamas' military wing, al-Qassam Brigades, in the northern Gaza Strip.

Locals told Ma'an that the strike had caused material damage, but there were no human casualties.

There is no evidence that Hamas had any responsibility for the recent rocket attacks. The coastal enclave's de facto leaders are currently pitched against Salafist groups in Gaza.

Since last summer's devastating war in Gaza, there have been growing signs of internal unrest between Hamas security forces and other militant groups, with a string of small-scale explosions.

Many of the more recent attacks are believed to be the work of Salafis who have made a name for themselves as unafraid to challenge Hamas, seeking to outbid them in the fight against Israel and the defense of Islam.

Salafis are Sunni Muslims who promote a strict lifestyle based on the traditions of early pious ancestors. While the vast majority of Salafis in Gaza are apolitical, a violent fringe has emerged in recent years.

Hamas has gone after these groups, which it views as a threat to its power in the same vein as extremist groups such as the Islamic State (IS).
Facts just facts / New Guinea
Netanyahu: I haven’t heard any official international condemnation of Gaza rocket fire (Haaretz).
07/06/2015 11:50
Facts just facts / Papua New Guinea
Gaza Strip has become the only land in the M. E. where ISIS and the Hizballah terrorists operate simultaneously though separately against the same declared foes: Hamas and Israel.These Islamic groups change sides and escalate their violence the new situation both Israel and Egypt need to step in.
07/06/2015 12:02
Legal Eagle / Australia
Either the Salafists are extremely stupid, or Israeli-backed - why else would they provoke Israeli military strikes against their own countrymen? If they genuinely want to end the Israeli occupation and promote Palestinian independence they'd direct their attacks against Israel, not Hamas.
07/06/2015 14:50
Arnold / Canada
Legal Eagle- You are definately not as swift as an eagle are you? Why did Hamas continue to draw fire against their people for the last 9 years?
07/06/2015 15:28
Luzer / USA
The relationship between Hamas and ISIS will have serious consequences for the people of Gaza. Keep on firing rockets at innocent people and watch what will happen to you. You forget there will be consequences for your very bad behavior. Your complaining of suffering is because of your actions
07/06/2015 16:39
eventually Israel will go into / Gaza like it did in "Defensive Shield'
and clean Hamas.
07/06/2015 17:33
Outlier / USA
Legal Eagle may not be Israeli-backed, but he does make stupid comments, of which this is one.
07/06/2015 18:17
@legal eagle / australia
your first premise is likely correct - "the salafists are extremely stupid"
remember going to paradise is viewed positively by such -
07/06/2015 19:18
Just / Peace
All that is required for the people of Gaza to live in peace is for
Salafists, and other Islamic militant groups including Hamas, to:
-1- Just leave Gaza, or at least to
-2- Just stop provoking wars, by launching rockets and digging tunnels !!
07/06/2015 21:01
BDS Justice / UK
I'm calling BS on this. IS clearly have the backing of Israel. They are supported in Syria and now they have infiltrated Gaza to take on Hamas, with the help of Israeli fighter jets. Sickening how low Israel will stoop.
08/06/2015 03:22
The Whitehouse / USA
After Israeli aircraft struck a terrorist infrastructure in Gaza in retaliation for a rocket attack on Ashkelon, White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said "Clearly the U.S. stands with the people of Israel as they defend their people and their nation against these kind of attacks".
08/06/2015 05:54
Ahmed / Egypt
Nothing moves in Gaza without the approval of HAMAS
08/06/2015 08:41
Ellen / US
0Why is it that no one seems to know that Hamas tries to prevent the other groups from shooting rockets into Israel--and usually succeeds. And Hamas has not violated one of its cease-fires with Israel. Israel has violated them--including in its 2014 invasion of Gaza.
08/06/2015 09:00
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