Israel strikes Gaza in response to earlier mortar fire

IAF jets hit 3 Hamas targets in northern part of Strip; military says it holds ruling terror group responsible for all attacks from Palestinian enclave

Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 5, 2016. (AFP/Said Khatib)
Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 5, 2016. (AFP/Said Khatib)

The Israeli Air Force struck a number of targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Wednesday-Thursday, in response to an earlier mortar shell fired from the Palestinian enclave that landed in southern Israel.

The military said Israeli jets struck three targets belonging to the Hamas terror group, which rules the Strip. The strikes were all carried out in northern Gaza, the IDF said in a statement.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The mortar shell fired from Gaza earlier landed in an open field in the Eshkol region, causing no injury or damage. As Israel’s alert system identified that the projectile was bound for an unpopulated area, no siren was sounded in the region.

The IDF said it holds Hamas responsible for any attacks emanating from Gaza. The military routinely responds to such launches with strikes inside the Palestinian territory.

The last time a projectile was fired from Gaza was last month when a missile launched from the coastal enclave landed in the Israeli city of Sderot, causing no injury.

In response to the rocket fire, Israel launched two attacks on Hamas infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. The first was a more limited assault, while the second comprised nearly 50 strikes on “key Hamas strategic assets,” military sources said at the time.

Launches from Gaza are infrequent and usually carried out by small fringe groups without the approval of Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

The Gaza mortar fire came as most of the Israeli public’s attention was focused on the country’s northern borders, as for the third day in a row errant rockets from the fighting in Syria landed in the Golan Heights.

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