Israel Strikes Hamas Posts in Gaza in Retaliation for Rocket Fired at South

The Israeli military hit the Strip after a rocket was launched at border community, landing in an open area and causing no injuries ■ The army said it struck several more targets overnight

A rocket launched from Gaza toward Israel, November 2019.
AFP

A rocket was fired Friday evening from the Gaza Strip toward the southern Israeli community Eshkol Regional Council and landed in an open area. No damage was caused, and no injuries were reported. 

The Israeli army later struck a Hamas military post in the northern Strip. The strike was carried out in response to the rocket fire, a state by the Israel Defense Forces said.

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The Eshkol Regional Council stated that it has not updated its safety instructions for locals. Earlier Friday, a siren blared in the community, sending residents to seek shelter. 

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The rocket fire comes after a Palestinian 16-year-old boy, identified as Fahd al-Astal, was killed by live Israeli fire while participating in a protest close to the border fence. Five other people were reported wounded by Gaza's Health Ministry.

Sirens sounded once more in the southern city of Ashkelon and in smaller Gaza border communities later on Friday, but the IDF said the Iron Dome alert system was not activated due to rocket fire, but other activity along the border. There were no reports of damage or casulaties.

The Israeli army later said its aircraft hit several Hamas targets in the northern part of the Strip, including what it says was a military compound.

This development arrives in the wake of a fire exchange earlier this week, during which the Israeli military struck several Hamas targets in the southern part of the coastal enclave in retaliation for two rockets that were launched at Israel Tuesday. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated at the time that "if anyone in Gaza thinks they can raise their head after operation 'Black Belt' they're making a serious mistake." 

The premier was referring to a serious flare-up between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad that took place earlier this month.

The tensions were sparked by Israel's targeted assassination of Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata and the subsequent death of nine Palestinian family members Israel killed by mistake in an airstrike. Islamic Jihad fired at least 450 rockets at Israeli communities in retaliation for the targeted assassination of its commander. Thirty-four Palestinians were killed during the fire exchange.