Israel strikes 10 terror targets across Gaza after rocket attack

Fighter jets bomb Hamas sites in coastal enclave after Iron Dome intercepts projectile heading toward southern Israel, army says

Illustrative. Smoke rises following an Israeli strikes on Gaza City, on May 30, 2018, after Palestinian terrorist groups bombarded southern Israel with dozens of rockets and mortar shells. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Illustrative. Smoke rises following an Israeli strikes on Gaza City, on May 30, 2018, after Palestinian terrorist groups bombarded southern Israel with dozens of rockets and mortar shells. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Israeli jets bombed multiple targets belonging to terror groups across the Gaza Strip on Saturday night, the army said, after a rocket was launched at southern Israel from Gaza earlier in the evening.

“The IDF, using fighter jets, attacked 10 terror targets in three compounds belonging to the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip. Among the targets that were attacked were two sites used to manufacture and store weapons and a military compound,” the army said.

According to the Hamas-affiliated Shehab news agency, the planes struck sites in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood, in the Nuseirat refugee camp and outside the city of Khan Younis.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The army said the airstrikes were in response to the rocket attack on Saturday evening, as well as violence that was “led and approved by the Hamas terror group” over the weekend, which included people “throwing bombs and explosive devices, attempting to breach the fence, damaging security infrastructure and setting fire to land in Israeli territory with incendiary kites and balloons.”

Israel holds the Hamas terror group, which rules Gaza, responsible for all violence emanating from the coastal enclave, regardless of who specifically carries it out.

“Hamas is solely responsible for all events that transpire in the Gaza Strip and emanate from it. If Hamas continues relying on terror instead of solving the issues that plague Gazan civilians, it’ll continue paying a heavy price that will increase as necessary,” the army said in a statement.

A video, posted on social media, reportedly showed the bombing of the targets in Shejaiya, which sent a large fireball into the sky.

Earlier on Saturday night, the army’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired at southern Israel by a terrorist group in the Gaza Strip, the military said.

A second rocket was also launched around the same time, but appeared to fall on the Palestinian side of the Gaza border, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The rocket launches appeared to be the first violation of a fragile ceasefire in effect since Wednesday morning, but came after a weekend of intense violence along the Gaza border.

Israeli soldiers stand guard next to an Israeli Iron Dome defense system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, deployed along the border with the Gaza strip on May 29, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)

The two rocket launches triggered sirens in Israel’s Eshkol region, near the south of the Strip, shortly before the end of Shabbat. The sirens came as Israeli firefighters were battling huge fires in along the border caused by Palestinian fire kites.

A spokesperson for the Eshkol region said it appeared that no injuries or damage were caused by the debris from the interception of the rocket, but authorities were still searching the area.

The Eshkol spokesperson said no special instructions were given to residents of the area in light of the rocket launches.

On the Palestinian side of the border, thousands attended a funeral for a young female volunteer medic, who Palestinians say was shot and killed by the IDF while tending the injured during violent protests on the Gaza border.

The border tensions comes following a week that saw the worst escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas since the 2014 war in Gaza. Earlier this week, Palestinian terror groups fired over 100 rockets and mortars at towns and cities in southern Israel. The Israel Defense Forces responded with dozens of airstrikes on Hamas military targets. After almost 24 hours of fire, a tacit understanding and unofficial ceasefire began, though both sides have described it as fragile.

Also Saturday night, firefighters were working to put out three large fires in Israel along the Gaza Strip border, believed to have been started by incendiary kites flown from the coastal enclave on Saturday.

The largest fire was near Kibbutz Carmia, adjacent to the northern Gaza Strip. Preliminary estimates suggested that between 2,000 to 3,000 dunams (500 to 740 acres) of fields and parts of a nature reserve adjacent to the kibbutz were destroyed.

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