Terrorists Target Israel's Northern, Southern Borders

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel came under fire from the north and the south on Tuesday and battled Palestinian rioters from within.

Israeli aircraft targeted two terror sites in the Gaza Strip overnight Tuesday, following rocket attacks on southern Israel.

It was the first airstrike since Pillar of Defense, the IDF's eight-day military incursion last November that destroyed thousands of Hamas rockets, including many of the long-range Fajr 5 missiles.

On the northern border, a mortar shell fired from Syria landed in the Golan Heights. Israeli troops near the border also reported hearing gunfire nearby.

The IDF fired tank shells at the source of the fire, identifying a direct hit.

Earlier Tuesday during a tour of the northern border, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Israel would respond to "silence the source of the fire," but would not get involved in Syria's civil war as long as it "does not harm our interests."

But the northern and southern borders weren't Israel's only challenges Tuesday.

Riots broke out in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Israeli prisons following the death of senior Hamas member Maissara Abu Hamdiyeh, serving a life sentence for a 2002 attempt to blow up a Jerusalem restaurant.

Hamdiyeh, who was diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer in February, was being treated at an Israeli hospital in Beersheba. Israel's prison authorities were slated to hold a second meeting this week to grant him early release, but he died before that could happen.

While critically ill Palestinian Arabs both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are sometimes transferred to Israeli hospitals for more advanced medical treatment, both Fatah and Hamas blamed Israel, claiming he was denied proper medical treatment.

An autopsy at the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv Wednesday, with the P.A. medical examiner present, confirmed that Hamdiyeh died of cancer. There were no signs of abuse on his body.

A hospital spokesperson said they do not release details of any patient's treatment, but told CBN News he received the same care as any other patient admitted to the medical center.

P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking with members of his Fatah faction, called his death "martyrdom," The Jerusalem Post reported.

"Today we were surprised to hear about the martyrdom of prisoner Abu Hamdiyeh," Abbas said. "In the past we tried to work to get him released from prison so he could receive proper medical treatment, but the Israeli government refused to comply with our efforts. We will continue our efforts to liberate the homeland the prisoners."

The Izz al-Din al-Kassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, called Hamdiyeh one of its "heroes."

"Abu Hamdiyeh was one of the heroes of Kassam," the group said in a statement. "He was one of the unknown soldiers who joined and trained our fighters since 1989. He worked quietly to supply our fighters with weapons and explosives."

The Prime Minister's Office said the P.A. was using Hamdiyeh's death to incite violence, as it did in February when Arafat Jaradat, 33, suffered a heart attack and died in the Meggido Prison.

Israel Police expect more violence at his funeral, scheduled for Thursday in Hebron.

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Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.