Not long after President Joe Biden departed Tel Aviv in Air Force One on Friday, becoming the first American president to fly straight from the Jewish state to Saudi Arabia after the kingdom opened its airspace to Israeli air traffic, the Israeli military began pounding Gaza.
“Hours after President Joe Biden ended a three-day visit to the region, Israel’s military said Saturday that it had attacked what it said was a Hamas military site in the Gaza Strip in response to a pair of rocket attacks,” NBC reports.
“In response to the attacks from the Gaza Strip on Israeli territory, the IDF is continuing to target Hamas weapons manufacturing sites in the Gaza Strip,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.
Specifically the IDF said it targeted a Hamas rocket production facility located underground. This in response to Hamas rockets said to have been launched at around 1am.
“The site targeted was one of the largest and most important sites in the Strip for the production of base materials for rockets by terror groups,” the IDF added. An additional two rockets were later reported fired from Gaza toward an Israeli settlement just northeast of the Strip, however they landed in open areas without injuring anyone.
The timing of the Hamas rockets suggests the group is trying to send its own message related to Biden’s Mideast presence; however, it’s the Hamas side accusing Israel of using Biden’s visit as ‘cover’ to launch fresh airstrikes, according to Al Jazeera:
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said it was no coincidence that the Israeli raids took place right after Biden’s visit to Israel.
“This escalation, which came immediately after US President Biden’s visit to the Zionist entity, reflects the amount of American support and encouragement that the Israeli occupation has received for the continuation of its aggression and the perpetration of its crimes,” he said in a statement.