IDF aircraft strike Gaza following earlier rocket fire

This is the first time the IDF has struck Gaza since this summer's conflict with Hamas. There are no reports of injuries.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, YASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA, NOAM AMIR/MAARIV HASHAVUA
December 20, 2014 00:42
2 minute read.
IAF F-16 fighter jet

IAF F-16 fighter jet. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)

 
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The IDF struck a site belonging to Hamas in southern Gaza near Khan Yunis early Saturday morning, following an earlier rocket attack from Gaza into Israel on Friday afternoon, which exploded in open territory near the Eshkol Regional Council.

The reports are of at least two strikes by the Israel Air Force, which was reportedly assisted by the Israel Navy.

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The Palestinian Interior Ministry tweeted that a medical source confirmed there were no injures resulting from the strike. 

The IDF Spokesperson's unit said in a statement, "The IDF struck terror infrastructure belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip. A direct hit was identified."

The IDF says the strike was in response to earlier rocket fire into Israel on Friday afternoon.

"The IDF will not allow any attempts to hurt the safety of Israel's civilians. The Hamas terrorist organization is the address, and they bear responsibility," said the IDF Spokesperson's Unit statement.

This is the first time the IDF has struck Gaza since the end of Operation Protective Edge this summer.

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Friday afternoon's rocket attack against Israel marks the third such attack since the end of the summer conflict with Hamas.

The latest Gaza rocket landing in Israel came days after a European Union court ruled to remove Hamas from the EU's terror list.

While there were no claims of responsibility yet for Friday's projectile fire, former deputy defense minister Danny Danon said the incident served as subsequent proof to Europe that Gaza's ruling Islamist group is a terrorist organization.

"If anyone doubted this [Hamas' status as a terror group] then they received the answer now with the [rocket] fire," he said.

Danon also stressed that the Israeli government should respond to any violation of its sovereignty, and "not abandon the people of the South."

In late November, multiple rockets were launched from the coastal enclave into the Mediterranean Sea.

The IDF said the launches were estimated to be experiments conducted by Gaza terrorists to upgrade their weapon capabilities.

In October also, a number of Color Red rocket-warning sirens went off in Gaza border communities, sending residents fleeing for shelter for the first time since the end of the summer’s 50-day war with Hamas.

Ben Hartman contributed to this report.

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