Israel hits targets in Gaza second time in two days

Strikes have been carried out in response to the rocket fired from the enclave, the Israeli military said

Israel has hit two targets, including a Hamas weapons factory in the Gaza strip, in an apparent retaliation for an attack on the Israeli town of Sderot from the Palestinian enclave.

On Thursday, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said one rocket was launched from Gaza the previous night. 

“In response, fighter jets attacked an underground facility producing rocket engine components. This attack will cause significant damage to the rocket production process in the Gaza Strip,” the forces said in a statement.

Attempts by the Hamas-controlled enclave to take down the planes have failed, according to an IDF spokesman, but prompted Israel to carry out a second strike, this time targeting “a military compound used by the Hamas terrorist organization.”

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Flames and smoke rise during Israeli airstrikes in southern Gaza Strip. © AFP / Said Khatib
Israel explains reason for Gaza strikes

During the second raid, the gunshots triggered the Israeli Iron Dome air defense system, with the malfunction currently being investigated, the IDF said.

The Times of Israel, citing a medics’ statement, reported that three people had received treatment for debris-related injuries following a strike from Gaza.

Hamas responded to last night’s events by saying that it would “increase the persistence” of the Palestinians and their commitment “to continue the struggle.”

The fire exchange has apparently marked a further escalation of tensions between Israel and Gaza. In a similar episode on Tuesday, the IDF struck several targets in the Gaza strip, claiming the move was in retaliation for the rocket fired at Israel from the Palestinian enclave – the first one in almost four months.

The incidents follow several days of violent clashes at the Temple Mount complex (as referred to by the Jews) or the Al-Aqsa compound (as referred by the Palestinians), and a series of terrorist attacks in Israel in recent weeks. The compound is in east Jerusalem, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967, with the Jewish state responsible for security there.

Temple Mount is considered the holiest site in Judaism, while the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the southern part of the complex is the third holiest site in Islam.