Israel strikes Hamas terror targets in response to rockets from Gaza

Israel strikes Hamas terror targets in response to rockets from Gaza

IDF hit a weapons manufacturing site after projectiles were fired towards Israeli communities in the south

Mortar shells fired from Gaza at southern Israel, May 29, 2018 (Twitter)
Mortar shells fired from Gaza at southern Israel, May 29, 2018 (Twitter)

Israel has struck Hamas terror targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire towards Israeli communities overnight, the country’s military said.

The incident is the latest flare-up following the release of the Trump administration’s Middle East plan, which has been fiercely rejected by the Palestinians.

The military said it targeted a Hamas weapons manufacturing site and that no one was wounded.

The exchange comes amid an increase in cross-border rocket and “explosive balloon” launches from the Hamas-controlled territory, as well as violent protests in the West Bank.

The Gaza Strip has been relatively calm in recent months as part of an informal truce between its Hamas rulers and Israel, but tension increased this week, after US President Donald Trump unrolled his plan, which hugely favours Israel.

Under the plan, Israel would be allowed to annex all Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as well as the strategic Jordan Valley.

The Palestinians were offered limited self-rule in Gaza, parts of the West Bank and some sparsely populated areas of Israel in return for meeting a long list of conditions.

The Palestinians, as well as much of the international community, view the settlements in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem – territories seized by Israel in the 1967 war – as illegal and a major obstacle to peace.

Hamas had recently curbed rocket fire from Gaza and rolled back weekly protests along the frontier that had often turned violent. In return, Israel eased the blockade it imposed on Gaza after the Islamic terror group seized power from forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority in 2007.

Hamas rejected the Trump plan and vowed that “all options are open” in responding to the proposal, but the group is not believed to be seeking another war with Israel.

In the West Bank, Palestinians have held scattered protests in recent days condemning the Trump initiative, burning US and Israeli flags and portraits of Mr Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Firebombs have been thrown at Israeli troops, with one exploding on a solider, who was only slightly wounded.

The Israeli military has so far instructed its troops to “contain” the protests and not respond forcefully, for fear that any Palestinian casualties would set off further violence.

Following the latest rocket fire, the military said it viewed the incident with “great severity and is prepared for various scenarios”.

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