Hamas warned Wednesday evening it would not “sit idly by” if Israeli airstrikes on its installations in the Gaza Strip continued following a rocket attack on the Israeli city of Sderot earlier in the day.
“We condemn the Israeli escalation in the Gaza Strip and warn against its continuation. We emphasize that we will not be able to continue to sit idly by and allow it to continue,” the terror group’s spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement reported by the Safa news agency.
The Palestinian report also listed the targets IAF jets reportedly hit on Wednesday, including a marine police installation in northern Gaza, near Beit Lahia, and a Qassam Brigades site in Khan Younis in the southern strip.
Other reports said training camps were hit. The Safa report also claimed some 25 IAF rockets struck a target in the Zeitoun area of Gaza City, according to Israel Radio reporter Gal Berger.
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed the airstrikes, saying it targeted “a number of terror installations belonging to the Hamas terror group.”
In its statement, the IDF called Hamas “the sovereign in the Gaza Strip, which bears responsibility for every terror incident emanating from it.”
The Israeli strikes are the second such attack of the day after the rocket fired from the coastal enclave struck Sderot. Earlier in the day, IDF tanks fired on Hamas targets in Beit Hanoun in the northeastern corner of the Strip, the army said.
Citing a Gaza Health Ministry spokesman, the Safa report said no Palestinians were hurt in the strikes.
The rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck a street in Sderot just before 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, police said.
Ten bystanders were taken to hospital suffering from anxiety attacks. The pavement where the rocket landed was damaged, as were several nearby cars and homes.
The Islamic State-affiliated Ahfad al-Sahaba-Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis terrorist group took responsibility for the rocket launch in statements released in both Arabic and Hebrew.
“Oh you cowardly Jews: You don’t have safety in our land. [Former defense minister Moshe] Ya’alon, the failure at giving security. [Defense Minister Avigdor] Liberman to fail will be a certainty,” the Salafist group said in its statement, which it published in stilted Hebrew.
The attack on Sderot was a response to Hamas’s arrest of several members of the Salafist organization, according to the group’s statement.
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Though the Salafist group claimed the attack, Israel has said it holds Hamas responsible for any attacks emanating from Gaza and routinely responds to such launches with strikes against Hamas targets.
“We can’t go after every little group in Gaza with a couple of dozen members that goes out one night and fires a rocket,” a senior officer in the IDF’s Southern Command told reporters last month.
Ahfad al-Sahaba-Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis released a similar statement last month after a failed attempt to launch a rocket at southern Israel on the first day of school. The group also claimed responsibility for a rocket attack that hit Sderot in August, landing between two houses in the southern Israeli city.
In Wednesday morning’s rocket attack, 10 people in Sderot “suffered anxiety attacks” and were treated by medical teams, but no one was physically hurt by the attack, according to the Magen David Adom medical service.
The 10 — including a 15-year-old girl and a 60-year-old man — were taken to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center for further care, MDA paramedics said.
Police sappers were called to the scene, and the area was closed off to pedestrians and traffic, police said.
Last month, a mortar shell was launched from the Gaza Strip and landed in a field in the Eshkol region near Gaza, causing neither injury nor damage, the army said.