The Israeli Air Force (IAF) attacked Hamas positions in Gaza Friday morning in retaliation for at least two mortar shells fired at IDF soldiers operating near the border fence. No IDF casualties or damage were reported.
The IDF Spokesman stated that "the IAF attacked terror infrastructure belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip. The attack took place in response to recent days mortar fire used by the terrorist organization Hamas against IDF forces engaged in operations near the border fence."
"The IDF considers terrorist activities committed from underground or above ground as a violation of the State of Israel's sovereignty, and considers Hamas solely responsible for these terrorist acts," he concluded.
In the last two days, about 16 mortar shells were fired at the IDF in at least 12 incidents, twice the amount of total mortars and rockets fired at Israel since the beginning of the year.
In light of the escalation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to convene the security cabinet Friday morning.
Meanwhile, the military wing of Hamas issued an announcement in which it first referred to the discovery of the tunnel in southern Gaza Thursday. According to its military wing, this tunnel is the same one from which the people carried out their first raid into Israel during Operation Protective Edge in July, 2014.
Even before Friday morning’s mortar shelling, the IDF was prepared for continued mortar fire at IDF forces over the weekend as well. Heavy engineering forces, along with Golani fighters and 7th armor brigade, will continue to operate from several locations along the border to locate tunnels crossing the fence, with the military working assumption being that there are more tunnels that have crossed Israel’s border and therefore attempts to discover them are continuing around the clock. have not yet found the experience in spotting continues around the clock. Thursday, the IDF discovered a new offensive terror tunnel, which had crossed the border near the southern Gaza Strip.
Security officials estimate that the Hamas is still not interested in a severe escalation, but nervousness in Gaza raises the chances of a mistake that could lead to more extensive fighting.