Air Force carries out three bombing raids in long night of escalation; house in Sderot heavily damaged.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
Terrorists in Gaza fired 12 rockets at Israel overnight and the IDF retaliated with three rounds of air strikes on Hamas targets, a military spokesperson said Friday.
The IDF said six of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and the rest exploded in open areas.
“The IDF takes all terror activity against Israeli territory very seriously and is prepared and ready to act as much as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli citizens and their sovereignty,” the IDF spokesperson’s office said in a statement.
“We hold Hamas responsible for all terror activity emanating from Gaza,” the IDF said.
A home in the town of Sderot that borders Gaza was heavily damaged in what was first thought to be a strike by a Palestinian rocket that failed to explode. However, it was determined that the building was struck by the remnants of an Iron Dome interceptor missile. The residents of the home escaped injury.
The Sderot house sustained heavy damage with pictures and videos showing smashed windows, the kitchen ceiling partially collapsed and holes blown in the walls and the roof.
“We didn’t hear the siren, and suddenly there was a loud blast,” homeowner Shlomo Malka told Ynet. “We got out of bed and ran to the bomb shelter. When we came out we saw everything was destroyed. The whole kitchen is in shambles, the food for Shabbat is ruined.”
Magen David Adom officials said one person was injured running for shelter during a rocket attack and three others were treated for shock. Residents of the communities surrounding Gaza have a maximum of 15 seconds to seek cover before incoming Palestinian rockets explode.
This is the heaviest rocket fire since a major flareup in February. Hundreds of incendiary balloons were launched from Gaza in recent weeks, causing dozens of fires in Israel.
Hamas leader ” said there is a good chance that a new cycle of violence is imminent unless Israel accepts its demands, Ynet reported.
“We are waiting for a response to the demands we submitted to the Egyptian Intelligence delegation during its visit to Gaza,” Haniya said. The Iran-backed Hamas wants Israel to ease restrictions on Gaza and is refusing to stop Palestinians from launching the balloons at Israel.
On Thursday, more than 40 fires had to be extinguished. The blazes over the past week have destroyed hundreds of dunams, including forests and agricultural fields.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas leaders they would be making a “very big mistake” if the attacks continue.
“We have adopted a policy under which a fire is treated as a rocket. We have, for 10 days consecutively, been striking Hamas and terror groups’ infrastructure. We are also applying various sanctions in areas that are important to Hamas,” Netanyahu said.
“Unfortunately, we are also preparing, as needed, for the possibility of a round, or rounds [of escalation]. I hope we won’t get to this,” he added.
President Reuven Rivlin issued a statement of solidarity with the Israelis.
“Israelis living in the area around Gaza had another tough night, including serious damage to property. This morning, too, we are with them and full of appreciation for their resilience,” Rivlin said, saying the country put their faith in the IDF to do its job.
“We will not stand by while Hamas is out of control,” Rivlin stated. “Fires, rockets and explosive balloons will not become routine.”