Gazan said killed as IDF strikes terror targets after rocket barrages on south

After 10 projectiles fired into Israel, with one hitting a house in Sderot, air force hits Hamas targets across Strip; Hamas doesn’t say if fatality is linked to terror group

The Israel Defense Forces on Saturday said it had carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket barrages fired into Israel by Gaza terrorists on Friday night. Hamas said a Gaza man was killed.

“Tonight IDF warplanes attacked a wide array of terror targets, including a military compound belonging to the naval forces of the Hamas terror group, a military compound belonging to the organization’s air defense system, a missile simulator, training facilities, an arms manufacturing site, and a military compound used as a weapons storehouse,” the army said in a statement.

“The attack was carried out in response to the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory earlier in the evening,” the statement said, adding that the Air Force also attacked Hamas’s “underground infrastructure” in the north, center, and south of the Strip.

“The IDF sees with great severity rocket attacks against Israeli territory, is in a high state of readiness and will continue to act as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli civilians. The IDF sees the Hamas terror organization as responsible for all acts in and emanating from the Gaza Strip,” the army said.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said one man was killed in the airstrikes, naming him as Ahmed al-Sheri, 27. It did not say whether he was affiliated with any faction.

Two other Palestinians sustained moderate or serious shrapnel wounds from one of the strikes, according to the ministry.

“The blood of our people is dear and we won’t allow the enemy to disparage it,” a Hamas spokesman was quoted saying Saturday morning by Hebrew media.

Palestinian terror groups fired 10 rockets into Israel in two separate barrages on Friday night, the army said. One projectile slammed into a house in the town of Sderot, while the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 8 other rockets.

In the early hours of Saturday, sirens again sounded in Sderot and the village of Ibim. The IDF later attributed the sirens to “non-rocket fire” from Gaza into Israel.

During the earlier barrage, a 65-year-old woman was lightly hurt when she fell while running toward a shelter, medics said. Five people were treated for anxiety.

The attack was one of the largest in recent months and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also defense minister, was in contact with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and coordinating a response, officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility from Gaza, but Israel routinely holds Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for any violence emanating from the Strip.

Warning sirens had gone off in the town of Sderot and in other Israeli communities along the Gaza border as many families were eating Friday night Shabbat dinner.

The IDF said 7 rockets were fired in the initial barrage, all of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome system.

About an hour later another three rockets were fired into Israel and the Iron Dome intercepted one. One of the rockets hit the home, causing serious damage but no injuries.

“There was a huge explosion,” one of the residents of the house told the Walla news site. “Luckily we were in the shelter; there is a lot of damage.”

The last rocket apparently fell in an open area.

A man checks a car damaged by shrapnel from a missile fired from Gaza into Sderot, Israel, November 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Immediately after the first salvo was fired, an IDF tank shelled a Hamas observation post in Gaza, Palestinian and Hebrew-language media reported.

Yaron Sasson, a spokesman for the Sderot municipality, said there had been no warnings ahead of time.

“This was a complete surprise after a few months of quiet,” he told Israel Radio. “But, again, we have residents running for bomb shelters during the Friday night Shabbat meal,” he said.

Sasson recommended residents remain close to bomb shelters and said emergency workers were carrying out searches to make sure there were no casualties.

The rocket barrages came a day after a rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open field. There were no reports of injuries or damage in Thursday’s attack.

The Iron Dome air defense system was activated and an interceptor projectile was launched, the army said in a statement, but it apparently missed its target.

The IDF said a tank and fighter jets subsequently launched retaliatory strikes on two Hamas posts in the northern Strip.

The Gaza-based Shehab news agency reported that Israeli security forces fired at a jeep belonging to operatives in the border area, near Beit Lahia.

On Tuesday, Israeli fighter jets shot down a drone that was flying at an “irregular altitude” over Gaza, the IDF said.

AFP contributed to this report.

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