Israeli aircraft retaliated against rocket fire emanating from the Gaza Strip on Sunday evening in a strike that Palestinian reports said left one Palestinian dead and three injured.
The army said in a statement that the raid was targeting terrorists “in the southern Gaza Strip, during their final preparations to launch rockets at civilian communities of southern Israel.”
“Hamas is responsible for the outrageous attacks originating from Gaza, and will be pursued as such,” IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.
Palestinians said the man who was killed in the Israeli airstrike had been a member of Hamas.
The Israel Air Force attack on Khan Younis came minutes after Palestinians in the coastal enclave fired a volley of rockets at southwestern Israel. The Iron Dome defense system shot down two of the projectiles — Grad rockets — over Netivot. There were no reports of injury or damage in the rocket attack.
Earlier in the day Israel Air Force planes struck 12 sites in Gaza in response to rockets fired over the weekend. Two rockets hit the town of Sderot, close to the border with Gaza, late Saturday, causing a massive fire that destroyed a paint factory.
According to Israeli officials, June saw a spike in rocket attacks, with 4.5 times the number of rockets launched at Israel compared to the previous month, from 13 rockets launched in May to over 60 in June.
The latest series of attacks comes amid an escalation in hostilities and tit-for-tat exchanges along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, as IDF troops scour the West Bank for three missing Israeli teenagers.
Israel has accused Hamas, which rules the Strip, of abducting the teens on June 12 and named two Hamas men as the suspected perpetrators.