IDF strikes Hamas targets after rocket fire towards Beersheba

Both rockets intercepted by Iron Dome missile defense system.

ron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel as seen from the city of Ashkelon, Israel Ashkelon (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
ron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel as seen from the city of Ashkelon, Israel Ashkelon
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza after Palestinians launched two rockets towards the southern Israeli city of Beersheba early on Saturday morning. The IDF believes Hamas was responsible for firing the rockets.
It was the latest violation of a ceasefire understanding that was put in place on Thursday morning after two days of heavy fighting between Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the IDF. Since then sporadic rocket fire against Israel has threatened the fragile agreement, worked out in Cairo with the help of Egypt and United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov.
Saturday morning’s exchange of fire marked the first time since the renewal of Israeli-Gaza violence on November 12, that Hamas was involved in the conflict.
Until Saturday, all the violence of the last five days had been solely between the IDF and the PIJ. Israel had also refrained during that time from holding Hamas responsible for the rocket fire against Israel.
On Saturday, however, the IDF began to once again speak of Hamas.
“The Hamas terror organization is responsible for everything in the Gaza Strip and will bear the consequences of terror acts carried out against Israeli citizens,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.
Over the weekend, the Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad worked to reconcile their differences and to give the appearances of a united front in the Gaza Strip.
In southern Israeli on Saturday morning incoming rocket sirens were activated in Beersheba, Segev Shalom, Lakiya, Omer and Bedouin areas around 2am with both rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Magen David Adom paramedics provided medical attention to nine people, all of them in mild condition, including five for shock and four who fell on their way to bomb shelters.
In retaliation the Israeli military said it struck a military camp, a compound for the group’s naval forces and underground terror infrastructure. Palestinian Wafa News Agency said the strike was carried out by 10 missiles fired at targets northwest of Gaza City and Beit Lahiya.
The violence began on Tuesday morning with when the IDF carried out a targeted killing of Bahaa Abu al-Ata, one of the group’s top commanders labeled by the military and Prime Minsiter’s office as a “ticking time bomb.”
Over 400 rockets and mortars were fired by PIJ towards southern and central Israel leading to dozens of retaliatory strikes against PIJ targets and operatives preparing to fire rockets into Israel.
The  Israeli military said that 90% of rockets headed towards residential areas were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while another 60% landed in open fields. Others struck homes, businesses and streets, causing significant property damage.
Magen David Adom rescue services said that EMTs and paramedics treated 84 people for injuries sustained since fighting broke out on Tuesday morning, including 3 with physical injuries (a 65 year old woman in Ashkelon, and 2 men aged 30 and 55 in the Beer Tuvia Regional
Council), 34 lightly injured who were injured on their way to the shelters and an additional 43 people with stress symptoms.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.