Israel strikes in Gaza after rocket attack

The strikes targeted two sites belonging to Al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, in northern Gaza. (AFP)
Updated 08 December 2019

Israel strikes in Gaza after rocket attack

  • Strikes targeted two sites belonging to Al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing
  • Late Saturday night, Palestinian militants in Gaza launched three rockets at southern Israel

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Israeli aircraft carried out attacks in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip early Sunday, Palestinian security officials said, hours after militants in the enclave launched three rockets at the Jewish state.
The strikes targeted two sites belonging to Al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, in northern Gaza, with another series of sorties at a Qassam site west of Gaza City, Hamas officials said.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
The Israeli army said “fighter jets and attack helicopters struck a number of Hamas terror targets” in Gaza, as well as “a military post belonging to the Hamas naval force in the northern Gaza Strip.”
“The IDF (Israel Defense Force) holds the Hamas terror organization responsible for events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it,” the army said in a statement.
“Hamas will bear the consequences for actions against Israeli civilians.”
Late Saturday night, Palestinian militants in Gaza launched three rockets at southern Israel.
All three projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, the army said, amending an earlier statement according to which two of the three rockets were shot down over southern Israel.
Medics had treated three people in the southern Israeli town of Sderot who suffered minor injuries while seeking shelter as air raid sirens went off, the Magen David Adom emergency medical service said.
There were no immediate reports of material damage.
On November 29, Israeli warplanes struck Hamas positions in Gaza in response to rocket fire at the Jewish state the previous day.
Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007, and Israel holds the Islamist movement responsible for all rocket fire coming from the territory, although it has targeted other militant groups there.
Last month, Israeli forces assassinated a senior Islamic Jihad leader in the Gaza Strip, sparking a two-day flare-up which killed 36 Palestinians.
Islamic Jihad fired around 450 rockets at Israel, many of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system.
Israel has fought three wars with Hamas and allied armed groups in Gaza since 2008.


Militant sentenced to 19 years for role in Benghazi attacks

Updated 24 January 2020

Militant sentenced to 19 years for role in Benghazi attacks

  • Al-Imam is the second militant convicted in the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American personnel
  • The head of the extremist militia who directed the siege, Ahmed Abu Khattala, was convicted in 2017 on terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 22 years in prison

NEW YORK: A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a Libyan militant to more than 19 years in prison for his role in the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador.
A jury convicted Mustafa Al-Imam last year of conspiring to support the extremist militia that launched the fiery assaults on the US compounds but deadlocked on 15 other counts.
The attacks, aimed at killing American personnel, prompted a political fracas in which Republicans accused the Obama administration of a bungled response.
Al-Imam was sentenced to a total of 236 months behind bars. He is the second militant convicted in the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, communications specialist Sean Smith and security officers Tyrone Snowden Woods and Glen Anthony Doherty.
The head of the extremist militia who directed the siege, Ahmed Abu Khattala, was convicted in 2017 on terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Khattala was accused of driving to the diplomatic mission on Sept. 11, 2012, and breaching the main gate with militants who attacked with assault rifles, grenades and other weapons.
The initial attack killed Stevens and Smith and set the mission ablaze. Woods and Doherty were later killed at a CIA annex.
On Thursday, federal prosecutors in Washington asked US District Judge Christopher Cooper to send a message to others contemplating attacks on Americans overseas, saying Al-Imam deserved the maximum 35-year sentence.
“In the current geopolitical environment, terrorists must understand that there are harsh consequences for attacking diplomatic posts and harming US personnel — particularly a US ambassador,” Assistant US Attorney John Cummings wrote in a court filing.
Defense attorneys said Al-Imam made a “tremendous mistake” by damaging and looting US property after the attacks. But they insisted there was no evidence he intended to harm any Americans, noting jurors could not reach a verdict on the murder charges Al-Imam faced.
“Mustafa Al-Imam is a frail, uneducated and simple man,” they wrote in a court filing. “He is not a fighter, an ideologue or a terrorist. He is a former convenience store clerk whose main loves in life are soccer and family.”
Al-Imam was tried in a civilian court despite the Trump administration’s earlier contention that such suspects are better sent to Guantanamo Bay. His arrest, five years after the attack, was the first publicly known operation since President Donald Trump took office targeting those accused of involvement in Benghazi.
Prosecutors acknowledged there was no evidence that Al-Imam “directly caused” the killings at the US compounds. But they said he aligned himself with Khattala and acted as his “eyes and ears” at the height of the attacks.
During a four-week trial in Washington, prosecutors pointed to phone records that showed Al-Imam was in the vicinity of the mission and placed an 18-minute call to Khattala during a “pivotal moment” of the attacks.
Al-Imam also entered the US compound, prosecutors said, and took sensitive material that identified the location of the CIA annex about a mile away from the mission as the evacuation point for Department of State personnel.
In interviews with law enforcement following his 2017 capture in Misrata, Libya, he admitted stealing a phone and map from the US mission.