April 7, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Answers Rocket Barrage with Air Raids in Lebanon and Gaza Strip

April 7, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Answers Rocket Barrage with Air Raids in Lebanon and Gaza Strip

Latest Developments

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bombed multiple Hamas targets in southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip on Friday morning after Palestinians fired dozens of rockets into Israel the previous day. Israeli officials reported that the air force hit 10 tunnels and weapons manufacturing facilities in the Gaza Strip and hit three Hamas military infrastructure targets in the Tyre region of southern Lebanon.

Palestinian militants, whom Israeli officials believe to be part of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, another Iran-backed terrorist group, launched 34 rockets into Israel from southern Lebanon on Thursday, wounding three Israelis. The rockets came from areas mainly under the control of Hezbollah, indicating coordination between multiple Iran-backed groups the United States has designated as terrorist organizations. On Friday, Hamas launched 44 more rockets from Gaza into southern Israel.

Expert Analysis

“The regime in Iran effectively oversaw a multi-theater terror and disinformation campaign against Israel that leveraged violent Palestinian extremists at the al-Aqsa mosque; Iran-backed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists operating out of the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon; and the Iranian proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon. Their goal: to murder more Israelis while driving a global media narrative that damages Israel.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Hamas military commander Saleh Arouri has spent the last five years preparing military infrastructure in Lebanon, with help from Iran, Hezbollah, and Turkey. Last night’s rockets were a sign that the system they built is fully operational. Israel responded with precision. But it remains to be seen whether Hamas will try to shower Israel with rockets again.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

Palestinians Incited to Violence

The escalation of violence comes as Jews celebrate Passover, Muslims commemorate the monthlong holiday of Ramadan, and Christians prepare to celebrate Easter on Sunday. On Tuesday night, Palestinians began to riot on the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), stoked by conspiracies that Israel will allow Jews to storm the compound and conduct animal sacrifices for Passover. Further instigation of violence came from Islamic clerics and Arab leaders.

Palestinian rioters armed with fireworks, batons, and stones barricaded themselves in the al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday night and refused to exit peacefully, prompting Israeli forces to enter the site after unsuccessful negotiations with the occupants. The Palestinians inside responded with violence against the Israelis. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that peaceful worshipers at al-Aqsa testified the violent extremists had “imprisoned” them, preventing other Muslims from coming to the mosque to pray.

Years of Planning

Hamas’ and Islamic Jihad’s buildup in southern Lebanon has proceeded for years under the noses of the Lebanese army and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL. Palestinian terrorist factions — with guidance from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force — operate a joint nerve center in Beirut to provide intelligence and coordination. While Hezbollah denied responsibility for Thursday’s rocket attacks, it would almost certainly have had advance knowledge due to its control over the area the rockets were fired from. At the time of the attack, the Gaza-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was visiting Lebanon, where Hamas commander Saleh al-Arouri has been building the group’s military infrastructure, intending to draw Israel into a two-front conflict. 

Related Analysis

IDF Intercepts Rocket Barrage from Lebanon,” FDD Flash Brief

Palestinian Rioters Attack Israeli Forces at al-Aqsa Mosque,” FDD Flash Brief

Pray for Peace This Ramadan,” by Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow


Arab Politics Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Lebanon