Israel strikes Hamas sites in Gaza after rocket attacks

Israel strikes Hamas sites in Gaza after rocket attacks

Army strikes Gaza positions after a projectile from the Palestinian territory hit a house in central Israel

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Israeli airstrikes targeted facilities in Gaza on Monday afternoon after a rocket fired from the Strip hours earlier struck a house in Israel, injuring seven.

Gaza-based reporters for Gaza Report said Israeli drones and helicopters began retaliating at around 3.30 GMT and focused on Khan Younis and Deir Al-Balah, with local residents raiding bakeries in anticipation of a long campaign.

The group tweeted that targets included the Qassem naval centre in northern Gaza, agricultural land near Beit Hanoun and the Al-Multazem insurance building in Gaza City, which was reportedly “completely destroyed”.

In Israel, bomb shelters were opened and some schools declared themselves closed tomorrow, after initial reports that Gaza-based militias have been told to hit back. Thousands of IDF reservists have been called to the border.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is fighting for re-election on a security ticket, flew back from the United States to deal with the violent escalation.

The IDF said it had bombed Hamas’s public security offices in Gaza City, after destroying a three-story building in the Strip, claiming that it served as the headquarters for elements of the organisation’s intelligence unit.

While the IDF blamed Hamas for the rocket that injured seven in the town of Mishmeret, a senior Hamas official told Ha’aretz newspaper that no group had claimed responsibility, meaning that it was either a mistake or an independent action by the member of another group.

The official added that if the Israeli response results only in material damages with no loss of life, the groups in Gaza would react with restraint.

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