In the latest step in a war of attrition with Israel, Hamas targeted one of the country’s nuclear reactors with rockets — an act which escalates the recent outburst of violence in the area to the level of nuclear combat.
An act of terrorism against a nuclear reactor in any form is defined as terrorism, as set out by the United Nation’s 2005 International Convention for the Suspicion of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
According to the United Nations, “any nuclear reactor, including reactors installed on vessels, vehicles, aircraft or space objects for use as an energy source in order to propel such vessels, vehicles, aircraft or space objects or for any other purpose,” or “any plant or conveyance being used for the production, storage, processing or transport of radioactive material.”
Three rockets were fired towards Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona, but the rockets were intercepted, and there are no signs of damage to the reactor.
Immediately after the attack, Hamas claimed responsibility for the rockets, stating that they launched long range M-75 rockets towards the reactor in southern Israel.
During the third day of combat between the militants and Israel Defense Forces, Palestinians launched over one hundred rockets into southern and central Israel. Over the past three days, 250 rockets have been launched between the two sides.
Iran, another country known for their potential nuclear capabilities, may also be helping the Palestinian cause. Hamas claims to be using a new Iranian-manufactured projectile rocket, the Sejil-55. The Israeli Iron Dome system has intercepted over 70 such rockets, significantly limiting damage to Israeli land and civilians.
In response, Israel has increased their military strikes against Hamas and could additionally be preparing for a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would continue to expand their response in Gaza as a part of Operation Protective Edge.
“The army is ready for all possibilities,” Netanyahu said in a statement after holding a meeting with his Security Cabinet. “Hamas will pay a heavy price for firing toward Israeli citizens. The security of Israel’s citizens comes first. The operation will expand and continue until the fire toward our towns stops and quiet returns.”