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IDF strikes Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire

Israeli aircraft target weapons manufacturing facility, underground infrastructure belonging to terror group, after 2 projectiles fired at Ashkelon

Illustrative: Flames are seen following an Israeli air strike in the town of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, October 20, 2020.
(Said Khatib/AFP)
Illustrative: Flames are seen following an Israeli air strike in the town of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, October 20, 2020. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Israel carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip against the Hamas terror group early Friday, the military said, after two rockets were fired into Israeli territory by Palestinian terrorists.

IDF warplanes and other aircraft attacked a Hamas weapons manufacturing facility and underground infrastructure, the military said.

Tensions have climbed in the south after the IDF on Tuesday announced uncovering what it said was a Hamas attack tunnel inside Israeli territory that had been dug from the Gaza Strip.

The rockets were fired on Thursday at the city of Ashkelon and nearby communities north of the Gaza Strip, the second attack in days following months of relative quiet along the border.

The Israel Defense Forces said one projectile was intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. The second projectile appeared to land in an open field. No injuries or damage were reported.

A single rocket was fired at Israel on Tuesday, drawing a reprisal raid. The rocket attack occurred hours after the military announced uncovering the tunnel into Israel. A Gazan rocket was also fired at Israel on Friday.

The so-called “terror tunnel” had been constructed from the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis toward the Israeli community of Kibbutz Kissufim.

Though the tunnel penetrated dozens of meters into Israeli territory, it remained on the Gaza side of the underground concrete barrier around the Strip. IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said the sensor-studded barrier, which is due to be completed in the coming months, first identified an anomaly on Monday and military engineers confirmed that it was in fact a tunnel the following day.

The military said Wednesday night it had determined that Hamas was behind the tunnel based on the manner in which it was constructed. It did not offer any details. There was no immediate comment from Hamas.

The military said the tunnel did not pose a threat to communities in the area.

Reports have proliferated in Hebrew media in recent weeks that Qatar is close to reaching a deal to resume supplying tens of millions of dollars in monthly cash transfers to Gaza, meant to help keep a lid on internal pressures.

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