IDF Strikes Hamas Targets in Gaza After Rockets Intercepted Over Southern Israel

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The Iron Dome system intercepts a missile over the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, 2019.
The Iron Dome system intercepts a missile over the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, 2019. Credit: Ilan Assayag

The Israeli military struck several Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Saturday after rockets fired from the enclave were intercepted over southern Israel, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said.

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The military said that it hit a Hamas military post, a factory that produces rockets, and underground infrastructure, after rocket sirens had sounded in the southern city of Ashkelon and nearby communities, the first such attack in more than a month. 

The Magen David Adom rescue service said they have received no reports of physical injuries, but that a handful of people are suffering from shock.

Sources in the IDF said it remains unclear who is reponsible for the launch, but that there was no directive from Hamas to attack Israel.

The strikes come amid reported indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas on a prisoner exchange deal and on allowing humanitarian aid into the coastal enclave.

Last month, a rocket fired from Gaza hit a building in the southern city of Ashkelon, causing damage but no injuries or casualties. The Israeli military struck several Hamas targets in Gaza in response. Following the confrontation, an Israeli tank in the area fired at a Hamas position without authorization. 

A week earlier, two rockets launched from Gaza fell in open areas in Ashdod and the central city of Rishon Letzion after the Iron Dome missile defense system failed to intercept them.

The Israeli military struck Hamas targets inside the Strip in retaliation, hitting an underground facility and military positions. 

Both Palestinian and Israeli sources claimed the rockets were launched due to a malfunction caused by lightning, and that neither side had intended to escalate violence. 

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