Israel strikes Gaza targets in retaliation for rocket attack

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s military launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a rocket attack on Israel.

The airstrikes targeted four “terror infrastructures” in southern Gaza early Wednesday morning, the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson’s unit said in a statement. Hits were confirmed, according to the IDF.

The rockets struck installations belonging to terror groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees locates near the Gaza airport, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.

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“These strikes are a direct response to Hamas and the aggression against Israeli civilians originating from the Gaza Strip. The reality that Hamas’ territory is used as a staging ground to attack Israel is unacceptable and intolerable and will bear consequences. Israelis cannot be expected to live in the perpetual fear of rocket attacks; the IDF will continue to operate in order to seek out those that wish to undermine Israeli sovereignty with acts of terrorism,” said IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

Sirens sounded in several areas of southern Israel on Tuesday night, indicating that more than one rocket was fired at Israel, though only one reportedly landed in Israeli territory. The rocket landed in an open area near the town of Gan Yavne, outside the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, but did not cause casualties or damage.

Tuesday night’s attack was the third rocket fired at Israel since the end of last summer’s Gaza conflict. Two mortars also have been fired at Israel since the end of Operation Protective Edge.

The Israeli military reportedly believes Islamic Jihad was responsible for firing the rockets.

Ynet reported that Hamas early Wednesday arrested those responsible for firing the rockets at Israel. “What happened yesterday goes against the interests of the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip and against our national interests,” an unnamed Hamas source told Ynet. “We consider the rocket fire to be a dangerous thing.”

Hamas sources told Ynet and other Israeli news outlets that Hamas has reached out to Israel through an unnamed third party in an attempt to deescalate the situation, saying it does not wish to have a confrontation with Israel.

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