Israel Strikes Hamas Positions in Gaza in Retaliation for Rocket Fire

Israel's missile defense system shot down the rocket fired from the Strip toward southern Israel

File photo: Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepts a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, 2014.
Ilan Assayag

Tensions along Israel's border with Gaza Strip flared up Monday, capping a week of rocket fire at Israel by terror groups and responses from the army. The Israeli military said it struck Hamas positions in the northern strip overnight in retaliation for a rocket fired at the southern city of Ashkelon, which Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system shot down.

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Rocket sirens sounded in southern Israeli communities near the border with the Gaza Strip and residents in the southern Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod reported hearing explosions.

In a similar incident earlier Monday evening, Israel struck Hamas outposts in southern Gaza in retaliation for a rocket fired from the Strip. No injuries were immediately reported and the siren that warns of incoming rockets did not sound. A local regional council said that the sirens did not go off because there was no threat to residents.

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Following Israel's retaliation, Palestinian media in Gaza reported Israeli tank fire at two Hamas positions, one in Khan Yunis and one in Rafah, both located in the southern part of the enclave.

On Saturday, the IDF destroyed an attack tunnel that reached from Gaza into Israeli territory. It was clear that Hamas was behind the tunnel, the military said. This was the second Gaza attack tunnel that Israel has destroyed in the last six weeks.

The Israeli army also struck Hamas targets in Gaza early Saturday in retaliation for rockets fired from the Strip on Friday evening. Two Palestinian militants belonging to Hamas' military wing were killed, the group said.

On Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called on Palestinians to "ignite a new intifada" following President Donald Trump's announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital.