IDF strikes Hamas targets after Gaza rocket hits Israeli town
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IDF strikes Hamas targets after Gaza rocket hits Israeli town

Planes target training camp in the northern Strip, destroying six facilities belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization including buildings and ‘terror infrastructure’

Illustrative: A ball of fire is seen after an Israel airstrike on Rafah, southern Gaza, on July 1, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/Said Khatib)
Illustrative: A ball of fire is seen after an Israel airstrike on Rafah, southern Gaza, on July 1, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/Said Khatib)

Israel carried out a series of airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza overnight Sunday-Monday, the army said, in retaliation for a volley of rockets fired at Israel from the Palestinian enclave.

In a statement, the IDF spokesperson said Israeli planes targeted a training camp in the northern Gaza Strip, destroying six separate facilities belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization including buildings and “terror infrastructure.”

The army “will not allow attacks or attempted attacks on citizens,” the statement said.

Earlier, the army confirmed that three two rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip Sunday night, two striking the Hof Ashkelon region inside Israel and a third falling withing the Hamas-controlled territory.

Police said that one rocket hit inside an Israeli community, and the other struck an open field nearby, causing neither damage nor injury.

A photograph shared on social media showed damage caused to the house. An outside wall was charred and several concrete tiles surrounding the home were destroyed.

It was not immediately clear why the missiles were not intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, an army spokesperson said.

No terrorist groups immediately took responsibility for the attack.

There were no immediate reports of Israeli retaliation to the rockets. In general, the Israel Defense Forces responds to such attacks with airstrikes or tank shellings on Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip.

The rocket fire came two days after an attack in which a missile was fired at Israel, but fell short and struck a house belonging to an Egyptian family in the northern Gaza city of Beit Hanoun, according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, which acts as Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians. “Once again, the terror groups launch rockets at the residents of Gaza,” COGAT said.

A Hadashot news report said the rocket damaged the home of the brother of a senior Hamas official, Mushir al-Masri.

On Wednesday, a rocket fired at Israel from Gaza also fell inside the Palestinian territory and hit a public school, damaging a classroom, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who heads COGAT, said at the time.

Friday’s failed rocket launch came amid a large rise in the number of rocket attacks on Israel from the Strip over the past two weeks, including a volley that caused damage to an empty kindergarten in Sderot over a week ago.

A number of the rockets have been shot down by the Iron Dome system, indicating they had been heading for populated areas.

This has been the largest incidence of rocket fire from the Strip since the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. According to Israeli assessments, these rockets are not being launched by Hamas, but by other terrorist groups in the Strip. However, analysts have noted that Hamas is either unwilling or unable to clamp down on the groups.

Illustrative: The trail of a missile launched by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, on August 22, 2014, from the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

The Israel-Gaza tensions have been fed by Washington’s recognition last week of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Protesting US President Donald Trump’s December 6 declaration that Jerusalem is the Israeli capital, terror group Hamas, which runs Gaza and seeks Israel’s destruction, called for a new intifada and vowed to liberate Jerusalem.

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