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3 mortar shells launched at Israel from Gaza; IDF tank strikes Hamas post

No reports of casualties or injuries in latest exchange in the Palestinian territory, hours after IDF strikes in Strip in response to rockets

An Iron Dome missile battery set up in Sderot, southern Israel, near the border with the neighboring Gaza Strip on November 13, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
An Iron Dome missile battery set up in Sderot, southern Israel, near the border with the neighboring Gaza Strip on November 13, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Three mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel Friday afternoon, the Israel Defense Defense Forces said. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted one of the projectiles, while the other two struck open areas.

There were no reports of casualties or damage.

In response to the attack, an IDF tank fired a shell at a Hamas observation post near the border in southern Gaza, the military said.

The mortar attack did not trigger sirens inside Israeli communities as it was heading for an unpopulated area, but it did set off alarms on smartphone applications in the area, the military said.

Early Friday, the Israel Air Force carried out strikes in Gaza in response to three rockets fired from the Palestinian enclave at Israel.

The army said among the targets hit was an underground facility used to manufacture weapons. No injuries were reported as a result of the strikes. Widespread power outages were reported in Rafah.

Tensions between Israel and Gaza have been steadily rising over the past two weeks after several months of relative calm. Fears have mounted in recent days of an escalation of violence in Gaza and the West Bank following the release of a US peace plan that is seen as heavily favoring Israel.

Two of the rockets fired at Israel late Thursday were shot down by the Iron Dome missile defense system. The third landed in an open area. There was no claim of responsibility but the army said it holds Hamas, the de facto ruler in the Strip, responsible for any violence emanating from the enclave.

A three-week-old girl was hospitalized with moderate head injuries after being hurt during a rush to a bomb shelter in Sderot. The girl’s mother, 30, was also hospitalized with light injuries, according to emergency services. Officials said the girl’s condition improved Friday morning.

Video published by Israeli media purported to show the rocket fire over the city.

Israel carried out airstrikes in southern Gaza on Thursday afternoon in response to cross-border sniper fire at an IDF post and after a bundle of balloons connected to an explosive device were found in the area of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.

On Wednesday night a mortar was fired from Gaza at Israel, prompting retaliatory airstrikes.

On Wednesday evening, the military announced it was deploying additional troops to the Gaza border and West Bank amid concerns that Palestinians may respond violently to the peace plan, which was released on Tuesday.

Palestinian leaders have rejected the plan.

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