Five Israeli Strikes on Gaza After Rocket Attack; Four Wounded

Hamas threatens: 'We won't let Israeli aggression continue'; Defense Minister Lieberman says Israel cannot ignore rocket fire, suggests 'Hamas take responsibility and calm down.'

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Palestinians drive on a road as smoke billows, in the background, following an Israeli airstrike on Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on February 27, 2017.
Palestinians drive on a road as smoke billows, in the background, following an Israeli airstrike on Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on February 27, 2017. Credit: SAID KHATIB/AFP

The Israel Air Force struck five military targets in Gaza on Monday afternoon in retaliation for rocket fire.

The IDF said the strikes targeted Hamas infrastructure.

Four people were reported wounded in the Israeli strike. According to Palestinian reports, the first strikes focused on Hamas positions west of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip's center and east of Rafah, in the Strip's south. Soon after, Palestinians reported an attack on a concrete factory north or Rafah.

Early on Monday, a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in southern Israel. No one was hurt and no damage was caused as the rocket fell in an open area.

A wounded Palestinian is brought into a hospital following what police said was an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip February 27, 2017. Credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS

Hamas said in response to the strikes that it "won't stand by in the face of continued Israeli aggression against the forces of the resistance and the intentional escalation on Israel's part."

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that while Israel has no intention of launching a military operation in Gaza, it will not ignore rocket fire. "I suggest Hamas take responsibility and calm down," he said.

Israel's Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories, Major-General Yoav Mordechai, said in a Facebook post that "Israel isn't interested in escalation, but cannot stand by as rockets are fired toward its sovereign territory. This is why the IDF retaliated."

"Hamas' terrorist activity is ceaseless, whether it's rocket fire, support for terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria or cynical use of humanitarian aid," Mordechai continued. "Any use of tunnels will lead to the user's death."

FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises after reported Israeli strikes in Gaza, February 27, 2017.

At the beginining of the month, a barrage of rockets were fired at the Red Sea resort town of Eilat, but Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system managed to intercept three of them. No Israelis were hurt in the incident, but a number suffered anxiety.

Tensions flared up at the time along Israel's border with Gaza after a rocket was fired at southern Israel. Israel’s responded with a series of strikes on Hamas-linked targets. Two members of the security cabinet who spoke with Haaretz hinted last week at the possibility of a more serious escalation within a few months.

Israel's state comptroller is set to release his report on the 2014 Gaza war on Tuesday. The report will level harsh criticism at a host of senior officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, former IDF chief Benny Gantz, former Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, former Shin Bet security service chief Yoram Cohen and Yossi Cohen, who was national security adviser during the war and now heads the Mossad.

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