A few hours after army shelled terror group position, aircraft target additional sites; no reports of injuries on either side
(SOURCE) Israeli aircraft targeted three Hamas sites in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday afternoon, hours after tanks shelled one of the terrorist group’s positions in the coastal enclave in response to a rocket attack earlier that morning, the army said.
Just after 9 a.m., a rocket launched from Gaza struck an open field south of the coastal city of Ashkelon, causing neither injury nor damage, the Israel Defense Forces said.
In response, an IDF tank fired shells at a Hamas position, destroying it, near the northern Gaza city of Beit Lahiya, the army said.
A few hours later, Palestinian media in the Strip reported Israeli airstrikes against Hamas sites west of Jabaliya, in northern Gaza. The army confirmed that it had carried out the strikes.
The Gaza health ministry said on Twitter there were no reports of Palestinian injuries in the retaliatory strikes.
Palestinians in the Strip took to social media, posting pictures and videos of the Israeli airstrike.
The rocket strike came two days after a top explosives expert for Hamas’s armed wing was killed in a mysterious explosion.
The rocket alert sirens that sounded in Zikim and Karmiya, in the Hof Ashkelon region, south of the coastal city of Ashkelon, sent residents scurrying for shelter.
“The IDF will not tolerate rocket fire toward civilians and will continue to ensure security and stability in the region,” he said in a statement.
Israeli troops launched a search in the area to locate the rocket, the IDF said.
If the army’s Iron Dome missile defense system calculates that an incoming rocket is going to strike an unpopulated area, it generally does not attempt to intercept it.
Earlier in the morning, Palestinian media reported that four Israeli engineering vehicles had crossed the border fence and cleared the buffer zone surrounding the Gaza Strip of obstructions.
No Palestinian terrorist group immediately took credit for the rocket fire, though since the 2014 Gaza war, such attacks have generally been carried out by radical salafist groups.
Regardless of which group actually launches the missile, Israel ultimately holds Hamas, which seized control of the Strip some 10 years ago, responsible.
Last month, the incoming rocket alert system went off in the communities of Ein Hashlosha and Nirim, but it was later found to have been a false alarm.
At the time, the army did not say what had triggered the alarm.
Dov Lieber contributed to this report.