Israel strikes Hamas weapons site after rocket launched from Gaza

After months of quiet on the southern front, Gaza terrorists launch rocket at Israeli communities, but Hamas reportedly not behind the attack.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Gaza-based terrorists launched rockets at civilian communities in southern Israel on Monday evening, breaking a months-long period of calm near the Strip’s border and triggering a retaliatory airstrike from the Israeli air force.

Residents of Gaza-adjacent communities of Kissufim and Ein HaShlosha were sent running to bomb shelters by air raid sirens at around 8:20 p.m. The rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, and Israeli authorities reported no damage or casualties in the incident.

Notably, multiple media reports maintained that the rockets were likely launched by either Palestinian Islamic Jihad or an independent terror group not affiliated with Hamas.

Reports over the weekend indicated that Egypt had brokered a deal between Hamas and Israel, which would see the terror group refrain from firing rockets after mass arrests on Friday at the Al Aqsa Mosque, in exchange for the the release of some 400 detained rioters.

Hebrew-language Kan News reported that after the rocket was intercepted, Hamas contacted Israeli officials via a third party negotiator to express that it was not interested in escalating tensions further and clarifying that the group was not behind the launch.

But despite Hamas apparently not being behind the rocket launch on Monday, the Israeli air force struck several of the terror group’s assets in the Strip, including weapons manufacturing and storage site, in retaliation.

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“The IDF considers Hamas responsible for what unfolds in the Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement explaining why it targeted the terror organization’s sites.

Hamas said in a statement that it had “responded to Zionist warplanes in the skies of the Gaza Strip with surface-to-air missiles at exactly 01:35 local time (10:35 GMT) Tuesday morning.”

No damage to Israeli air force planes was reported.

On Sunday, sirens sounded in the Gaza border community of Nahal Oz, which the IDF called a “false alarm.”

However, residents of Nahal Oz reported hearing large explosions. Gaza-based terror groups said they launched mortar shells at the community, suggesting that the deadly projectiles landed within the Strip.