New escalation? Israel retaliates, strikes Hamas targets

Despite police preventing Zionist flag march in Jerusalem over rocket fears, deadly projectiles were launched from the Gaza Strip just hours later.

By World Israel News Staff

The Israeli air force struck multiple Hamas assets in the Gaza Strip during the early hours of Thursday morning after a rocket launched by a terror group damaged a home in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.

The airstrikes marked the second time this week that Israel retaliated with targeted raids in the Strip after Gaza-based terrorists launched deadly projectiles at Israeli civilian communities.

On Wednesday, Israeli police prevented flag-waving participants in a Zionist march across the capital from entering predominantly Arab areas for fear that their presence would lead to rockets being launched from the Strip.

Despite the police refusing to allow MK Itamar Ben Gvir, who participated in the march, to reach the Damascus Gate area in the Old City — in violation of his parliamentary immunity and celebrated as a victory by both Hamas and Iran — rockets were launched at Israel’s southern communities later in the evening.

The Hamas terror group, which rules the Strip, did not take responsibility for either of the launches in recent days. Its smaller rival, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was reported to be behind the offensives.

Although Hamas reportedly has a deal with Israel — according to which it refrained from launching rockets in exchange for Israel releasing hundreds of Arab rioters detained on the Temple Mount last Friday — the IAF said in a statement that it holds Hamas responsible for any aggression towards Israel originating in the Strip.

“The bombing of Gaza will increase the persistence of our people and its resistance to continue the struggle and escalate support and aid for our people in Jerusalem,” Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qasim told Arabic-language media early Thursday morning.

Hours after the first round of Israeli airstrikes, sirens blared once again in Gaza-adjacent communities. In a statement, the IAF said that heavy gunfire and an anti-tank missile, which ended up falling inside the Strip, had triggered that batch of red alerts.