IDF releases photos of Hamas posts flattened in response to rocket fire
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IDF releases photos of Hamas posts flattened in response to rocket fire

Targets in Gaza include headquarters where terror group directed operations in West Bank as well as a compound used by its special naval force

Hamas's West Bank headquarters compound in Gaza that was flattened during an Israeli air raid on March 15, 2018. (IDF)
Hamas's West Bank headquarters compound in Gaza that was flattened during an Israeli air raid on March 15, 2018. (IDF)

The Israeli military said a major sortie carried out in Gaza last week in response to rocket fire on Tel Aviv flattened a “terror headquarters” of the Hamas group and naval posts belonging to the group, among other sites.

Pictures released by the military early Sunday showed extensive damage to several of the sites hit during the round of airstrikes early Friday, which came after two rockets were fired at Tel Aviv in what Israeli authorities now apparently believe to have been an accident.

Among the sites hit were a headquarters in the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City used by the terror group to coordinate its operations in the West Bank.

The army said such operations included “directing terror attacks, building terror infrastructure, transferring money and providing logistical assistance in attacks against Israeli citizens.”

Before and after photos of an alleged Hamas terror headquarters hit in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, in a photo released by the IDF on March 17, 2019. (IDF Spokesperson)

Another two sites targeted during the IDF air raid early Friday morning were military outposts belonging to Hamas’s special naval force

The sites were also used to produce and store weapons used by the reconnaissance unit, the army said.

Before and after aerial photos of both released by the army appeared to show the buildings reduced to rubble.

Before and after photos of a Hamas’s special naval force base in Gaza that was flattened during an Israeli air raid on March 15, 2018. (IDF)

On Friday, the army said it had carried out some 100 airstrikes in Gaza, in one of the heaviest bombardments in years.

The army said at the time that it hit an underground manufacturing site of standard-grade rockets in the Gaza Strip, as well as a military training site that the IDF said served as Hamas’s drone center in the south of the enclave.

A position belonging to Hamas’s military wing, near its leader Ismail Haniya’s family home on the outskirts of Gaza City, was damaged, with rubble strewn across the road, an AFP journalist said after the strikes.

Four Palestinians were wounded in the Gaza strikes, the enclave’s Hamas-run health ministry said.

A Hamas military site is seen empty after it was hit by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, early Friday, Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Hamas on Friday fired nine rockets at Israel in response to the barrage, though the sides have since reportedly reached a temporary ceasefire.

The rockets fired toward Tel Aviv Thursday were the first such occurrence since a major conflict in 2014. One was shot down while another landed in an open area, and no injuries were reported by Israel.

A Palestinian inspects the damage at the Hamas Prisoners Ministry after Israeli airstrike, Gaza City, March 15, 2019 (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

An IDF assessment found that the rockets were possibly fired toward the coastal city by mistake, and that low-level Hamas forces were responsible for the launches. It was not clear if the IDF believed it was a technical malfunction or human error.

An Israeli TV news report Friday claimed that the launches had been caused by low-level Hamas members “messing” with the rockets.

On Thursday, a Hamas official told The Times of Israel that the terror group “has no interest in an escalation” with Israel. The official said he had “no idea” who fired rockets toward Tel Aviv.

The Hamas-run interior ministry called the rocket fire “outside the national consensus” and said it would exact measures against those behind it.

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