Army Strikes Hamas Target in Gaza After Rocket Fired Toward Israel

Rocket fell in an open area, two treated for mild injuries while running to shelters

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A rocket fired toward Israel from Gaza in February 2020.
A rocket fired toward Israel from Gaza in February 2020.Credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/ REUTERS

The Israeli army struck a Hamas target in Gaza Tuesday night after a rocket had been fired from the Strip toward Israel, amid an intensifying escalation between Hamas and Israel.

Israeli aircraft targeted at least one military compound belonging to a Hamas special unit, an IDF statement confirmed.  

Earlier Tuesday, the Israeli army said that a rocket had been fired from Gaza toward Israel and fallen in an open area. Rocket sirens were sounded in Ashkelon and Kibbutz Zikim.

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Magen David Adom said that two people had been mildly injured on their way to shelters. A ten-year-old girl and a seven-year-old girl, both in stable condition, were taken to Barzilai Medical Center to treat mild injuries.

The army said they are investigating the details of the incident.

Later Tuesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with heads of local authorities of Gaza border communities, telling them that the government "has adopted a policy of fire law like rocket law. We have been working for ten days in a row to bomb Hamas infrastructure and terrorist organizations. We are also imposing various sanctions in areas that are also important to Hamas."

"Unfortunately we are also preparing if necessary, for the possibility of a round or rounds [of retaliation]. I hope we do not get to that. We are not ready to accept the use of this means, which by the way has no justification," he added.

Also on Tuesday, Gaza's only power station stopped producing electricity after Israel halted supplies of diesel fuel to the besieged enclave. The shutdown of the power plant will reduce Gazans’ daily power supply from 8 to 12 hours up to now to just 3 or 4 hours.

The only remaining source of electricity in the Hamas-controlled enclave is power directly supplied by Israel – after Egypt, which also shares a border with Gaza, stopped providing electricity in February.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited the District Coordination and Liaison Office, which coordinates and monitors the movement of Palestinians in and out of Gaza Tuesday. He was briefed on the civil situation in the Strip. 

The incendiary balloons continued to be launched into Israel on Tuesday, causing damage in a number of Israeli communities in the south. According to fire services, 39 fires broke out. The Israel Air Force attacked underground Hamas facilities in Gaza on Monday night. The Israeli attacks have become a nightly occurrence in response to the balloons

On Monday, 19 fires were caused by the devices, including one in the yard of a preschool in Sderot, which was not in operation at the time. Most of the fires have been in open areas in the Eshkol and Sha’ar Hanegev regions, which border the Strip.

Israeli defense officials say the security incidents along the border over the past few weeks are part of an attempt by Hamas to put pressure on Israel to keep commitments that Israel has made in indirect negotiations with the Islamist group. The Israeli officials do not think, however, that Hamas is interested in a confrontation with Israel.

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