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Israel Strikes Back: Military Retaliates After Rockets Fired from Syria

by Andrew Wright
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The Israeli military announced that they attacked some areas in Syria after six rockets were sent towards Israel. The rockets were sent by Syria, which is located near to Israel’s northeast side.

After the second time 3 rockets were fired, Israel first said they sent out artillery to the place where the rockets came from in Syria. But later it was found out that Israeli fighter jets attacked sites of the Syrian army, such as a compound of their 4th Division and other posts for radar and guns.

These rocket firings happened after some days of high tension because of conflicts in Jerusalem along with an Israeli police raid at its most important holy site.

On Sunday, two rockets were fired towards Israel and one was intercepted by Israeli military. Also on Saturday, a rocket hit a field in the Golan Heights (an area occupied by Israel since 1967). Another destroyed missile fell into Jordan near the Syrian border and no one was hurt either time.

A group of people in Damascus, who are loyal to the Syrian government, said they launched three missiles on Saturday. According to a news report from Beirut, this group was called the Al-Quds Brigade and they did this as revenge for a police raid that happened at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The President of Syria, Bashar Assad, said that the rocket strikes happening recently around the country are part of their plan to fight back against their enemy.

Israel has promised to stop Iran from becoming too powerful in Syria. They’ve done this by bombing certain parts of the country lots of times, but they don’t usually tell the public when they do it. This year, bombings have taken place that even shut down airports in Damascus and Aleppo for a little while who hurt innocent people, Syrian soldiers and Iranian advisors.

Israeli security forces shot and killed a 20-year-old Palestinian named Ayed Salim in the town of Azzun. This caused some people to protest. The Israeli military said that their soldiers fired at Palestinians who threw stones and bombs.

When he died, there was a lot of violence going on in the West Bank. Big News reported that around 90 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire this year– half of them were connected to militant groups.

In the past little while, 19 people have lost their lives in violence between Palestinians and Israelis. This included two British-Israelis who were shot near a settlement in the Jordan Valley and an Italian tourist killed by a suspected car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv. Out of them, only 1 was not a civilian.

Recently, a lot of rocket fire has been coming from Syria due to increased conflict between Israel and Palestine. The reason behind this is because of an Israeli police raid on the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is a very important sacred Islamic site. This angered Palestinians who were celebrating Ramadan, so Lebanese militants and Gaza Strip militants decided to fight back by launching rockets into Israel.

In response, Israeli planes bombed locations connected to the Palestinian organization Hamas located in Gaza and Lebanon.

On Saturday night, both the Palestinian worshippers and Israeli police were panicked in Jerusalem. The worshippers had barricaded themselves in a hilltop mosque in the Old City that is important to both Muslims and Jews. The police tried to evict them but the situation quickly became violent. Explosives and stones were stacked inside the mosque which caused tension in the holy area earlier this week.

The latest conflict made the Israel Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, decide to not let any Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza Strip come into Israel during the Jewish holiday of Passover. Police also increased their security in Jerusalem just before this important religious event started.

In a separate event on Saturday in the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank, a leader from an armed group called the Lion’s Den said that they had killed someone who gave information about their locations and movements to the Israeli military. The Israeli forces have attacked several important members from the Lion’s Den in recent weeks.

Videos showed a man lying in the Old City with his body covered in blood. Oday Azizi, the leader of the Lion’s Den, said that “people who are unfaithful don’t belong anywhere”. This man’s death couldn’t be verified yet.

Right now, people around the world are celebrating three big religious holidays – Ramadan, Passover and Easter. The city of Jerusalem has become very busy with lots of tourists coming to visit its holy sites because they are important to different religions like Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

The Israeli government announced last Wednesday that they will not allow Palestinians to enter Israel or Jerusalem until after Passover. They said this was for their safety and that extra troops had been sent out for protection duty. On Friday there were special prayers allowed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque but other than that, people were still not allowed in.

Over 2,000 police officers will be in Jerusalem on Sunday for a special event. On that day, thousands of Jews are joining together at the Western Wall to take part in an important prayer called the priestly blessing. The Western Wall is the holiest spot where Jews can pray and it’s near another holy place called Al-Aqsa Mosque. Every day during Ramadan, a lot of people meet at Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray.

The police chief in Jerusalem, Doron Turgeman, gathered with his officers on Saturday to discuss safety plans as a group. He blamed Hamas, the rulers of Gaza Strip, for trying to cause trouble by suggesting that Jews wanted to invade a mosque.

Turgeman announced that they would protect people’s right to practice religious activities and said the police will be firm but gentle while making sure all faiths can celebrate without danger.

It all started this week when Israeli police stormed a mosque and used smoke bombs to make people leave. After the attack, lots of fighting broke out in Jerusalem and many Middle Eastern countries became really angry.

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