On April 2, 2013, a number of mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev, one of them landing between two Israeli villages. Remains of rockets were also found in an open area in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman, April 3, 2013). There were no casualties and no damage was reported. It was the first recorded mortar shell attack since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense (November 21, 2012).

A network affiliated the global jihad and calling itself the “Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem” claimed responsibility for the attack (also claiming responsibility for the rocket fire targeting the southern Israeli city of Sderot on March 21, 2013). According to the network’s announcement, the mortar shell fire was in response to the death of Palestinian prisoner Maysara Aby Hamdia. The announcement also called on Hamas activists to exert pressure on the Gaza Strip security forces not to act against the network’s operatives.

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