Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets at Israel on Friday evening, the military said. The rockets apparently fell in open areas and there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
Israel Defense Forces aircraft carried out retaliatory strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, the army said.
Rocket warning sirens sounded in communities near the Gaza Strip, sending thousands of residents to bomb shelters as they were celebrating the Shabbat evening meal.
The IDF said in a statement that it had carried out airstrikes in response to the rocket fire.
“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets targeted Hamas terror targets in the southern Gaza Strip,” the IDF said in a statement.
The Hamas terror group on Saturday said that a series of IDF strikes in response to the firing of two rockets at Israel a day earlier “increases our resolve to deal with the annexation plan.”
“Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip tonight is an extension of the aggression against Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank. It will only increase our resolve to deal with the West Bank annexation plan,” the organization which rules the Gaza Strip said in a statement.
Palestinians in Gaza fired two rockets at Israel on Friday evening, the military said. The rockets apparently fell in open areas and there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
“During the strike, a rocket manufacturing workshop and a weapons manufacturing facility belonging to the Hamas terror organization were struck. This strike will impede the Hamas terror organization’s future abilities,” the IDF statement said. “The IDF views any kind of terror activity aimed at Israel with great severity and will continue operating as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli civilians.”
The IDF said it holds Hamas responsible for all events in the Strip and emanating from the territory, and that the terror group would “bear the consequences” for attacks against Israel.
Palestinian media reported IDF strikes in the southern and central areas of the Strip. In an immediate response, an IDF tank fired a shell at a Hamas observation post to the east of Deir el-Balah in central Gaza, Hamas-linked al-Resalah news reported.
Later, Hamas-linked media reported IAF strikes on a Hamas military site west of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Loud explosions were heard in the area. There was no immediate confirmation from the IDF.The rocket fire came a day after the Hamas terror group, which rules Gaza, warned that Israel’s potential annexation of West Bank lands next week would be a “declaration of war.”
In recent days, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the two most powerful terror groups in Gaza, have threatened to step up clashes along the border, following months of relative calm in the area.
Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the West Bank constitutes a “declaration of war,” a spokesperson for Hamas’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said in a speech on Thursday.
On Friday, a senior Hamas official reiterated the message, saying Israel and Hamas were locked in an “existential struggle.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz fired back hours later in a warning to Hamas leaders.
“I suggest they remember that they’ll be the first ones to pay for any aggression,” he said during a ceremony for graduates of the air force’s pilot course. “The IDF is the strongest army in the region and the price for any attempt to harm Israeli civilians will be strong and painful.”
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