Two Hamas Militants Killed After Israel Strikes Gaza in Retaliation to Rocket Fire

Three rockets launched from Strip toward Israel, one of which exploded in southern Israeli city of Sderot ■ Israeli strikes reportedly wounded 15 in Gaza

Palestinians look at the damage at a Hamas military facility early on December 9, 2017, in the aftermath of an Israeli air strike in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip.
Mahmud Hams / AFP

The Israeli military struck Hamas targets in Gaza early on Saturday morning in retaliation to rockets fired from the Strip on Friday evening. Two Palestinian militants belonging to Hamas' military arm Iz al-Din al-Qassam were killed, the group has confirmed.

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The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said that fighter jets struck four Hamas targets in the Palestinian coastal enclave, including two weapons manufacturing sites, a weapons warehouse and a military compound. Fifteen were reportedly wounded in the strike.

One of the rockets fired from Gaza earlier on Friday evening exploded in the southern Israeli city of Sderot. Cars were damaged, but no casualties were reported.

A car that sustained damage as the result of a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, Sderot, southern Israel, December 9, 2017.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

This was the third rocket fired toward Israel from the Palestinian enclave in a day. The first was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while the second failed to reach Israeli territory.

Retaliating to the first two launches, the Israeli air force struck Hamas positions in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday evening. The IDF spokesperson said that fighter jets struck a training site and a weapons warehouse. According to reports in Gaza, 15 people were wounded in the strike, including a six-month-old boy who suffers from a serious illness.

As the rockets were launched from Gaza, rocket sirens were sounded in the southern Israeli cities of Ashkelon, Sderot and a number of other communities located near the Gaza Strip.

The rocket fire came after a day of widespread unrest in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as thousands of protesters took to the streets in a second "Day of Rage" over U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Two Palestinians were killed and at least 98 were wounded in clashes with Israeli forces.

On Thursday, three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. One rocket landed inside Israel and two landed inside the Strip. The Israeli army attacked two positions inside the Strip in retaliation.