The IDF struck sites belonging to the Hamas terrorist movement in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon early Friday morning after dozens of rockets were fired towards Israel in recent days and as dozens more were fired overnight from Gaza.
In southern Lebanon, three targets belonging to the Hamas movement were hit. According to Lebanese reports, the sites were located in the vicinity of al-Qulayla and the al-Rashidiah refugee camp, south of Tyre. No injuries were reported in the strikes.
The Hamas movement condemned the strikes in Lebanon, stating on Friday morning that the strikes "reflect the brutality of the leadership of the fascist occupation, and its policies that threaten security and peace in the region by violating the sovereignty of brotherly Arab countries and the sanctity of Islamic and Christian sanctities, foremost of which is the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque."
The movement added that it holds Israel "fully responsible for the repercussions of this dangerous escalation."
عثرت وحدة من الجيش في سهل مرجعيون على راجمة صواريخ بداخلها عدد من الصواريخ التي لم تنطلق، ويجري العمل على تفكيكها.#الجيش_اللبناني #LebaneseArmy pic.twitter.com/rAuphj06Ms— الجيش اللبناني (@LebarmyOfficial) April 7, 2023
The Lebanese Army announced on Friday morning that it found a rocket launcher containing multiple unlaunched rockets in the Marjayoun area, north of Metula.
UNIFIL stated on Friday morning that it is working to restore calm and that both Israel and Lebanon had said that they are not interested in a conflict.
"The measures taken during the past day are dangerous and warn of a dangerous escalation," said UNIFIL.
At least ten Hamas sites hit in Gaza Strip
In the Gaza Strip, the IDF struck at least ten targets belonging to Hamas, including tunnels and weapons production facilities, with 50 tons of bombs.
During the strikes, at least 40 rockets were fired from Gaza towards southern Israel. One of the rockets fell on a home in Sderot and 14 fell in open areas. No injuries were caused by the rocket fire.
On Friday morning, residents of communities near the Gaza Strip were instructed by Home Front Command to remain near shelters until further notice. A few hours later, the directive was lifted.
The Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news outlet reported on Friday that sources familiar with Egyptian mediation efforts expected a gradual calm to begin within a matter of hours, as both sides did not express a real desire to enter a larger confrontation.
The head of the Sdot Negev Regional Council, Tamir Aidan, expressed outrage at reports that Israel and Hamas were headed towards calming the situation, stating "The measured response of the security forces last night does not restore deterrence and sends a bad message to the terrorists in Gaza and Lebanon!"
"I hope and want to believe that this reaction is the result of the totality of the circumstances at this time and I expect the political echelon to choose the timing as soon as possible and initiate decisive and painful action against the leaders of the terrorist organizations, including targeted assassinations in order to restore deterrence and create a different reality according to which the one who determines the agenda of the State of Israel in general and the surrounding settlements in particular is the State of Israel and not the terrorist organizations," said Aidan.
IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi convened a situation assessment on Friday afternoon, during which he ordered the call up of some reserves, with an emphasis on air defense and offensive formations in the Air Force, due to the ongoing tensions in the region.
Clashes come after two days of rocket fire towards northern, southern Israel
The rocket fire and strikes came after at least 36 rockets were fired from Lebanon towards northern Israel on Thursday afternoon and evening and additional rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning and Wednesday morning.
The rocket fire on Tuesday morning came hours after Palestinians and Israeli police clashed at al-Aqsa mosque, after dozens of Palestinians barricaded themselves with fireworks, stones and rods in the mosque ahead of planned Jewish visits to the complex on the eve of Passover on Wednesday morning.
Hundreds of Palestinians were arrested amid the clashes at al-Aqsa.
On Thursday night, Hamas called on all the Palestinian factions "to unite in an open confrontation with the occupation in defense of our Jerusalem and our al-Aqsa."
Additionally, the spokesperson for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist movement's al-Quds Brigades warned that "The resistance today translates its covenant to Jerusalem and the Jerusalemites, and continues its blessed response to the aggression, and affirms that the Sword of Jerusalem (the Palestinians' name for Operation Guardian of the Walls) will remain open in all arenas."