Israeli Air Force planes targeted two Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning in response to a rocket fired from Gaza that landed in southern Israel.
The rocket struck an open space in the Sdot Negev region, near the town of Netivot. Nobody was injured and no damage was caused by the rocket fire. The Code Red rocket warning system was not activated in local communities, as it was calculated by the IDF that the rocket would land in an unpopulated area. Israeli forces searched the area for remnants of the rocket.
In response to the rocket fire, Israeli jets struck two Hamas installations in northern Gaza.
There have been no reports of casualties or injuries. Israeli media reported that a radical Salafist group was responsible for the initial rocket fire, but the IDF said in a statement that it holds Hamas “solely responsible for what is happening in the Gaza Strip.”
Thursday morning’s exchange follows a tense period last month during which there were several incidents of rocket fire from Gaza followed by an Israeli response. At the time, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his policy that “we respond to all fire at our territory.”
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman emphasized that Israel has no interest in initiating a military confrontation in Gaza, but “we have no intention to continue to absorb drizzles [of rockets out of Gaza].”
Hamas have insisted that they “won’t stand by in the face of continued Israeli aggression.”
On Friday, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, which is affiliated with the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said that it was behind a failed rocket attack on Israel. The group pledged that “the coming days will bring an escalation against the Israeli occupation.”
[Photo: Israeli Air Force]