A Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist died, and a second terrorist injured, this weekend in Gaza at the hands of Hamas operatives.
An angry PIJ sought revenge – by firing rockets at Israeli civilians.
It started Saturday when Hamas police reportedly wanted to arrest a drug suspect in the town of Shuja'iyya. But PIJ commander Raed Jundiya, a friend of the suspect, reportedly intervened. He was shot and killed in a resulting skirmish. At his funeral Sunday, PIJ military wing chief Mohammad al-Harazin was injured when he was hit by a car driven by Hamas members.
Jundiya's death "represents a major service to the Zionist enemy, provided completely free of charge, whether deliberately or not, because the martyr was, as everybody knows, on the top of the Zionists' hit-list as he headed the Brigades' rocket unit," a Hamas statement said.
While PIJ said it would break off relations with Hamas, it fired at least six rockets at civilian communities in southern Israel. Two were picked off by Israel's Iron Dome defense system. No injuries were reported from the other four. Israel struck back, hitting two arms depots and a rocket launching site in Gaza.
Rocket fire from Gaza dropped off considerably since November's Pillar of Defense campaign targeted the infrastructure used in the incessant attacks. Since it governs Gaza, Israel holds Hamas responsible for all rocket fire coming from the territory. So while PIJ's retaliation for Jundiya's death may seem disconnected, Times of Israel reporter Avi Issacharoff writes that it is Hamas that suffers most from Israeli retaliation, including a possible closing of border crossings which could create shortages on fuel and other supplies. That could cut into popular support for Hamas among Palestinians.