Israel strikes Hamas posts in Gaza after rocket fire

Military says it targeted infrastructure in north and south of enclave following earlier launch from Strip that hit Sha’ar Hanegev region

Illustrative. An Israeli F-15 fighter jet. (Tsahi Ben-Ami/Flash90)
Illustrative. An Israeli F-15 fighter jet. (Tsahi Ben-Ami/Flash90)

The Israeli Air Force on Monday night struck two Hamas infrastructure targets in the north and south of the Gaza Strip, the military said.

The IDF said the strikes came in response to a rocket launch from the Strip earlier in the night.

Strikes were recorded in at least three locations in Gaza, Palestinian sources and eyewitnesses said, with Hamas bases struck near the southern city of Rafah and Gaza City in the north, as well as open land southeast of Gaza City.

Gaza health officials said there were no immediate reports of injuries, but an AFP photographer in Gaza saw at least one man bleeding being taken for treatment from a house near the base.

Earlier a rocket hit southern Israel, in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, not causing any damage or casualties.

The launch was claimed by a salafist group linked to the Islamic State, according to Hebrew media reports.

Israel says it holds Hamas responsible for any attacks emanating from the territory it controls, and has in the past responded to any launch with strikes on Hamas targets.

Hamas rulers said earlier this month it was not interested in a fresh round of conflict, even as electricity cuts requested by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and facilitated by Israel, threatened to lead to new violence.

Abbas has led a high-stakes campaign to weaken Hamas by gradually reducing the flow of electricity to the territory he lost to the terrorist group in 2007.

Egypt has since stepped in to ship in fuel to make up for most of the power cuts, though its not clear how long the shipments will continue.

On Monday, the Haaretz daily reported that human rights groups and officials in Gaza suspect Abbas is also attempting to keep Gazans from being able to seek medical attention in Israel as a means of ramping up pressure.

Israeli security concerns have shifted in the last few days to the northern border, where fighting in neighboring Syria has bled into Israel, with fire from mortars and small arms hitting in the Golan Heights.

Israel has struck back at Syrian regime targets several times in retaliation.

Earlier Monday, Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman said Israel has “no intention of launching a military operation” against Syria or Gaza.

But Liberman added that despite the military establishment’s hope for calm on Israel’s borders, it will not tolerate any provocations, even accidental fire that spills over from a neighboring conflict.

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