IDF strikes Hamas targets in response to Gaza rocket fire
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IDF strikes Hamas targets in response to Gaza rocket fire

Israeli military bombs observation post, apparent underground rocket launchers, after 3 projectiles fired into Israel from the Strip

Illustrative: A ball of fire is seen following an Israeli airstrike at Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, after Palestinian terrorists fired two rockets toward Israel, June 27, 2020. (Said Khatib/AFP)
Illustrative. A ball of fire is seen following an Israeli airstrike at Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, after Palestinian terrorists fired two rockets toward Israel, June 27, 2020. (Said Khatib/AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces bombed a number of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Sunday night after terrorists in the enclave fired three rockets into southern Israel earlier in the evening, the military said.

According to a number of Palestinian outlets in the Strip, in several rounds of airstrikes, the Israeli military targeted a Hamas observation post, as well as “agricultural lands,” east of Gaza City.

In the past, such Israeli strikes on “agricultural lands” have targeted underground rocket launchers that were buried under fields.

The IDF confirmed carrying out the strikes with attack helicopters and fighter jets, saying that among the targets were “underground infrastructure belonging to the Hamas terror group.”

The military repeated its general view that Hamas, the de facto ruler of Gaza, was ultimately responsible for “what happens in the Gaza Strip and what comes out of it.”

Earlier in the evening, three rockets were fired from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel, amid growing tensions along the border region appeared as the Israeli government considered annexing portions of the West Bank.

Two rockets apparently struck an open field at around 7 p.m. in the Sdot Negev region of southern Israel, local officials said, without causing injuries or damage.

About an hour later, rockets sirens again rang out in the southern Israeli Sha’ar Hanegev region as another rocket was launched out of the Strip. The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, according to the IDF.

IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman later said the top brass of the Southern Command would hold a “situational assessment” regarding the attacks to determine how to proceed.

“We will not accept rocket fire at the south. A situational assessment will be held in the coming hours,” Zilberman told reporters.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. The IDF spokesman said the military did not yet know which terror organization fired them.

The normally restive Gaza border region has seen months of calm since a flare-up of violence in February, amid reported intensive efforts to reach a long-term truce deal between Israel and Hamas.

But tensions have risen in recent days, with Gazan terror groups vowing to oppose Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank under the Trump administration’s peace plan rejected by the Palestinians.

Late last month, Gaza’s Hamas rulers warned that in the event that Israel goes ahead with applying its sovereignty over settlements and the Jordan Valley as provided for in the US peace plan, it would amount to a “declaration of war” against Palestinians.

A day later, on June 27, Palestinians in Gaza fired two rockets at Israel. The rockets fell in open areas and did not cause casualties or damage. One rocket landed in an open area in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, while the second apparently fell within the Strip.

Israel retaliated with strikes on Hamas sites, saying it held the terror group responsible for attacks from Gaza.

On Wednesday, sources in Hamas claimed the Gaza-based terror group had fired a volley of rockets into the sea as a warning to Israel not to annex parts of the West Bank.

However, the IDF said it was unaware of any such launch, and there was no additional confirmation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s center-right coalition government had set July 1 as the date from which it could begin implementing US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal, annexing territory. But there was no announcement last Wednesday or any day since.

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