Israel responds to rocket fire from Gaza as cease-fire ends

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Israel renewed its attacks on Hamas targets in Gaza after 18 rockets were launched at Israeli cities at the close of a 72-hour cease-fire.

The Israeli strikes were carried out by aircraft over Gaza on Friday morning, Army Radio reported. The strikes resulted in the death of a 10-year-old boy, the Ma’an news agency reported. Eleven others were wounded.

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In Israel, one civilian sustained moderate injuries and one soldier was lightly wounded.

One of the rockets shot at Israel caused a fire near Ashkelon and another exploded inside a populated area. One rocket was intercepted over Sderot and two rockets hit open areas, the spokesperson’s unit of the Israel Defense Forces said.

“In response to the renewal of rocket fire by Gaza terrorists at Israel, we are striking terror sites in Gaza,” the IDF said.

In a statement to media, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an IDF spokesperson, said: “The renewed rocket attacks by terrorists at Israel are unacceptable, intolerable and shortsighted. Hamas’ bad decision to breach the ceasefire will be pursued by the IDF. We will continue to strike Hamas, its infrastructure, its operatives and restore security for the State of Israel.”

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for firing three rockets, according to Army Radio.

In Gaza, thousands of people left their homes ahead of the expiration of the cease-fire, which Hamas and other Palestinian factions refused to extend because Israel would not lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli delegation in Cairo for talks on achieving a more durable cease-fire returned to Israel Friday morning, Haaretz reported.

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 in response to rocket fire by Hamas from Gaza. On the Israeli side, fighting resulted in the death of 67 people, three of whom were civilians. On the Palestinian side, more than 1,700 people have died and thousands were wounded.