Israel Attacks Several Hamas Targets in Second Consecutive Day of Cross-border Fire

Attack in response to two rockets fired from Gaza at Israel, one intercepted, another lands in open area ■ Palestinians report multiple injured in clashes with IDF

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Rockets intercepted above Gaza border communities in November 2019.
Rockets intercepted above Gaza border communities in November 2019.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Israeli army attacked several Hamas targets in the northern Gaza Strip early Saturday, in response to two Gaza rockets which were fired at Israel on Friday evening. 

Among the targets attacked were weapons storage facilities and an underground infrastructure used by Hamas, said the IDF.

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Earlier Friday evening, two Gaza rockets were fired at Israel, the Israeli military said. One of the rockets was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and the other fell in an open area. 

No injuries or damage were caused. 

After the first rocket was launched from the coastal enclave, at around 8 P.M., sirens announcing incoming rockets were activated in the southern city of Sderot and in other communities close to the Gaza border. After the second rocket was launched, at around 10:30 P.M., an alarm wailed in the kibbutzim of Nir Yitzhak ad Sufa as well as in the Eshokl Regional Council. Some rocket shrapnel was found on a roof of a house in Sderot. 

The rocket fire came in the wake of a fire exchange between Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza for the second consecutive day. 

In response to the escalation, the head of Sha’ar Hanegev regional council criticized the government Friday. "It's Shabbat eve, and the fourth consecutive day of shooting at Israeli residents of the communities near the Gaza border and Sderot," he said, "while everyone is busy with questions about annexation, I suggest that the Israeli government first contain its sovereignty over the Gaza enclave."

Earlier Friday, the Israeli army struck Hamas targets in Gaza in retaliation for three mortar shells that were launched at the south.  One of the mortar shells was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system; the other two had landed in open areas.

Shortly thereafter, an Israeli tank struck what Israel said was a military post used by Hamas.

Also Friday, the Red Crescent reported that 14 Palestinians were injured in clashes with the Israeli army near the border fence. Ten of them were wounded by live Israeli fire, the first aid organization added.

According to the Red Crescent, altercations are also ongoing in the West Bank. Forty-eight Palestinians were wounded there; 13 have been transferred to hospitals to receive medical care for minor and moderate injuries caused by gas inhalation and rubber-tipped bullets that were fired at them. 

Overnight fire exchange

In the early morning hours on Friday, the Israel Air Force struck "a wide range of targets" belonging to the Palestinian group Hamas in the strip, including underground facilities used to produce weapons, according to an army statement. 

"The military spokesperson unit informs that a short time ago IDF fighter jets and aerial vehicles attacked a wide range of terrorist targets belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the southern Gaza strip. Underground facilities used to produce weapons were struck in the operation," the statement read.

The strikes came in response to previous attacks by Hamas militants, inlcuding rockets and explosives-laden balloons launched toward Israel and sniper fire against an army position on the border with Gaza. 

Three projectiles were launched from the Gaza strip toward Israel Thursday night, with two being intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. It remains unclear what happened to the third launch.

A 30-year-old woman in Sderot, where rocket sirens blared, was taken to the hospital with a light head injury along with her three-weeks-old infant who suffered severe bruising to the head.

It is believed the mother tripped in the stairs while running to reach the bomb shelter during the alarm.

The confrontation comes after U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a Middle East peace plan on Tuesday.

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