Israeli Tanks Shell Hamas Position in Gaza in Retaliation for Rocket Launch

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A rocket is fired from Gaza toward Israel, in Gaza November 12, 2019.
A rocket is fired from Gaza toward Israel, in Gaza November 12, 2019.Credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS

Israeli tanks shelled two Hamas military posts in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday evening, in retaliation for a rocket launched toward Israel, the Israeli army said.

The Israeli army said Saturday that they had identified a rocket launched into Israel from Gaza.

The Shaar Hanegev regional council said that a siren had sounded in several of the communities in the area. "It seems that the rocket fell in an open area. No one was hurt and there was no property damage," the regional council said.

Shortly after the rocket launch, the Israeli army said it had retaliated by shelling militant position in the northern Gaza strip.

"A short while ago IDF tanks struck two military positions belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the northern Gaza strip. The strike came in response to the rocket fired toward Israel earlier on," the IDF said in a statement.

The rocket launch took place after a day of relative calm. Exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza militants in the strip, however, has been on the rise since the presentation of U.S. President Donald Trump's peace plan for the Middle East. Palestinian factions have launched rockets and explosive-laden balloons toward Israel over the last ten days, to which the IDF responded targeting Hamas positions near the security fence as well as infrastructure targets such as Hamas tunnels, arms depots and so forth that are hit during selective strikes.

Sources in the defense establishment say Hamas might be purposefully aiming its rockets at open areas in order to pressure Israel for concessions ahead of the elections while at the same time avoiding a full-fledged escalation. 

On Wednesday, Israel reduced Gaza's fishing zone from 10 to 15 nautical miles saying it was in response to increased militant activity against Israel originating from the strip. 

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Kamil said in a statement that the decision to limit Gaza's fishing zone "was taken after repeated terror activities were carried out from within the Strip against Israel's citizens over the past several weeks, which constitute a violation of Israeli sovereignty." 

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