Hamas Pummels Israel with Rockets, Mortars

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Palestinian Arabs pummeled Israel with more than 30 rockets and mortar shells early Monday, the last day of the Sukkot holiday, following a targeted air strike on two al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists, one of whom killed an Israeli in June near the Israeli-Egyptian border.

The Israel Defense Forces instructed Eshkol Regional Council residents to stay within 15 seconds of bomb shelters or safe rooms. One rocket damaged a home and another hit a petting zoo, killing several of the animals.

The air strike targeted Talaat Halil Mohammed Jarbi, 23, and Abdullah Hassan Makkawi, 25, traveling by motorcycle in Rafah near the border with Egypt, the Palestinian Authority's official Ma'an News Agency reported. Makkawi later died of his injuries. Eleven others were injured in the attack, including several minors, according to the report.

The IDF said Makkawi belonged to the Ashora Council of the Martyrs of Jerusalem and Jarbi is a Global Jihad operative.

According to Israel's Channel 10, the IDF said Gaza-based terrorists now have more advanced rocket launchers that can fire multiple rockets by remote detonation, the Times of Israel reported.

Following Monday's rocket assault, the IDF targeted Gaza's terror infrastructure, including two mosques and one factory. It is not unusual for Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups to house their operations in mosques.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attacks, issuing a joint statement.

"This blessed operation came in response to continuous and repeated enemy crimes against our defenseless people," YNet quoted the terror groups' statement.

The IDF always holds Hamas, the Palestinian faction ruling the Gaza Strip, responsible for all terror attacks emanating from there, but it was the first time since June Hamas owned up to its participation.

Abu Obeida, a spokesman for the al-Qassam Brigade, said the attacks underscore the "high level or coordination" between Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

More than 470 rockets have been fired on southern Israel since the start of the year, the IDF reported.

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