Israel Defense Forces (IDF) strikes Hamas targets in Gaza following rocket fire on Israel. Israel has issued a warning that it will launch a heavy attack on the Gaza Strip if rocket fire from the besieged enclave continued.
After the Israeli military struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Saturday following terrorist rockets fire on southern and central Israel, Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned that Israel holds Hamas responsible.
The IDF said the strike targeted underground Hamas infrastructure and military positions.
The rockets are believed to have been fired to mark one-year anniversary of the elimination of senior Islamic Jihad operative Bahaa Abu al-Ata.
Sirens warning of incoming rocket fire were heard in Ashdod and Kibbutz Palmachim in the south, as well as in several cities in central Israel.
“It was a restless night in the south of the country, and one group is responsible for it – Hamas,” Gantz said on Sunday. “If Hamas does not stand the test of peace, the results will be dire first of all for its leadership and for the residents of the Gaza Strip.”
The defense minister added: “I would like to tell the residents of the south that we are working in several directions, both operational and in other ways, in order to bring about long-term peace. We will continue our response to the violation of our sovereignty, beyond what we have done, in a time, place and manner that will serve our long-term needs… in the south of the country.”
A rocket landed in an open area in the Ashkelon area, an explosion was also heard in the center of the country
Two launches were identified from the Gaza Strip to Israeli territory. One launch that did not trigger an alert in the Ashdod area in the absence of need, and another launch that triggered alarms in the city of Ashdod and in the lowlands. Air Defense fighters launched interceptors at targets in accordance with policy “
Both rockets struck open areas along the coast — one near the city of Ashdod and the other on Palmachim Beach, south of Tel Aviv — causing no significant damage or injuries.
Soldiers operating the Iron Dome air defense system attempted to shoot down the rocket fired toward Palmachim Beach “in accordance with policy,” the military said, firing at least two interceptor missiles at the projectile, but did not shoot it down. Fragments of an interceptor missile landed in the nearby city of Bat Yam, causing minor damage.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit confirmed the strike, saying two launches from Gaza were identified.
“IDF fighter jets, helicopters and tanks shelled underground infrastructure and military positions of the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip. The attack was carried out in response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” the military said in a statement.
“The IDF conducts ongoing situation assessments and acts decisively against any attempt at terrorist activity against the citizens of the State of Israel and the violation of its sovereignty.”
Speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his country “will not tolerate any attacks”, referring to two rockets launched on Saturday night from Gaza toward Israel.
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