IAF hits 5 Gaza terror targets overnight following rocket fire at South - Israel News, Ynetnews
 
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IAF hits 5 Gaza terror targets overnight following rocket fire at South

Army responds 2 rockets fired, one intercepted over Ashkelon by Iron Dome; 15 rockets have been shot since search for 3 abducted teens began.

Matan Tzuri, Yoav Zitun
Latest Update: 06.20.14, 11:04 / Israel News

The Israel Air Force attacked five terror targets overnight Thursday in response to rocket fire at southern Israel earlier Thursday.

 

 

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IAF strikes Gaza targets

IAF fighter jets struck three hidden rocket launchers in the northern Gaza Strip, a terror activity site in the center of the Strip and a weapon storage facility in the southern Gaza Strip.

 

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said six people were lightly hurt in the airstrikes, including four children.

 

Rockets were fired from Gaza Strip at Israel Thursday evening, adding to an already tense week which saw ongoing rocket fire from Gaza, as well as a massive IDF operation in the West Bank in search of three Israeli missing for since last week.

 

At around 10 pm a rocket was fired at the southern coastal city of Ashkelon only to be intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. A Color Red alert siren was sounded throughout the city as well as in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.

 

Earlier in the day, an additional rocket was fired at Israel and exploded in an open area in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, thus bringing the total number of rockets fired at Israel since last week to 15.

 

Despite the ongoing trickle of rocket fire, Hamas is still dealing with a crisis in the Gaza Strip, so it is maintaining the ceasefire reached following Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.

 

The IDF spokesman's office said that "the defense system believes the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip to Israel in recent days has been perpetrated by Islamic Jihad, and not by Hamas."

  

The ongoing escalation in the south came amid a massive search operation by the IDF in the West Bank, launched in wake of the kidnapping of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel.

 

Israel has repeatedly said it views Hamas as being behind the kidnapping, and a majority of Operation Brother's Keeper has focused on crackdown on Hamas' operatives in the West Bank, with a number of senior figures from the movement arrested.

 

Hamas, which is the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip, vowed to strike back at Israel in wake of the operation, and promised to "rain hell on Israel" should the operation continue, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said.

 

Israel has urged Palestinian President Abbas – who has condemned the kidnappings – to cut ties with Hamas, with whom he recently formed a unity government, but Hamas officials – who for their part have slammed Abbas for cooperating with Israel – say Palestinian unity is strong.

 

According to Palestinian news agency Ma'an, a senior Hamas official said Thursday that the group is capable of starting an Intifada, but said Israel would not destroy the Palestinian unity government.

 

"We are capable of igniting a third Intifada which is an irrevocable right that will go off when more pressure is exerted on the Palestinian people," Hamas official Salah Bardawil said during a solidarity rally for the director of the al-Aqsa TV network, who was detained by Israel on Wednesday.

 

Hamas will not sit on its hands as Israel "continues with its crimes in the West Bank," he added, according to Ma'an.

 

He further claimed that Israel's ongoing arrest campaign is an attempt to break the resistance and prevent a new Intifada. He further added that "nobody can foil reconciliation because our people insist on unity and on liberating land and prisoners."

 

Elior Levy contributed to this report

 

 

 

First Published: 06.19.14, 22:38

 

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