October 27, 2018
In response to an overnight barrage of roughly 30 rockets from the Gaza Strip toward Sderot and other Israeli towns near the border, the IDF strikes 80 Gaza targets by air. The strikes hit Hamas weapons production and military facilities, training sites, and observation posts and destroy the headquarters of Hamas’ General Security Services in Gaza City.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a small militant group operating in Gaza, claims responsibility for the rocket attacks, which are meant as retaliation for the deaths of four protesters during the weekly Great March of Return protest at the Gaza border fence. From March 2018 to August 2019, those continuing marches, which often turn into riots, have led to more than 300 fatalities and tens of thousands of injuries.
The barrage October 26 and 27 marks the first time that Palestinian militants have explicitly linked rocket attacks to the deaths of Palestinians during the Great March of Return. Israel, in accordance with its policy, holds Hamas responsible for all rockets launched from the territory it controls.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad does not function in any governing capacity in Gaza. Iran provides the group most of its money, training and weapons supply. Palestinian Islamic Jihad has carried out joint operations with Hezbollah, and its members and leaders are spread among Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Iran.