Israel Strikes Hamas Overnight After Rockets Launched From Gaza for Third Time in a Week

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An Iron Dome interception above a Gaza border town, May 5, 2019.
An Iron Dome interception above a Gaza border town, May 5, 2019.Credit: \ Ilan Assayag

The Israeli military said it carried airstrikes in several locations in Gaza on  Wednesday overnight, including a Hamas naval post in the northern Strip, in response to a rocket launched from the Strip.

Shortly after the air force strike, a second projectile was launched at Israel, and the Israeli military said it responded again with airstrikes against Hamas targets.

This is the third case of projectile fire from Gaza in less than a week; the tit-for-tat exchange has shattered weeks of a tense calm along the volatile Gaza-Israel border.

The projectiles fell in an open field in Israel, and no casualties were reported.

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On Saturday evening, three rockets were launched at Israel from the coastal enclave. Two of them, the army said, were intercepted by the Iron Dome, and no injuries were reported. Another rocket launched from Gaza was intercepted by the Iron Dome on Friday. Both incidents were met with IDF strikes.

Recent escalation on the Israel-Gaza border.Credit: AFP

In addition, there have been multiple attempts by armed Gazans to breach the border fence since the beginning of the month.  

Palestinian factions in Gaza have relayed an ultimatum to Israel warning of an escalation on the border if Israel does not fulfill its ceasefire commitments, according to report on Tuesday in the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar which quoted a Hamas source. 

According to the report, the Palestinian demands include a Qatari cash infusion to the Strip and a resolution to the electricity shortage.

Though the source did not specify what the "escalation" would entail, Talal Abu-Zarifeh, a member of the March of Return organizing committee, said the factions have agreed in principle to return to airborne firebombs, nightly activity along the border fence and mass crowds approaching the border.

On Monday, Palestinian factions in Gaza warned Israel that the Strip is "a volcano that is about to erupt" and that "Israel is continuing to play with fire."

In a joint statement, the factions described the recent attempts by armed Palestinians to cross the border as a testament to the volatile situation. "The occupation's crimes against the Palestinian people and the holy sites will not go unanswered," the statement said, referring also to recent clashes on Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

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