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Israeli fighter jets strike Hamas facility in retaliation for Gaza rocket fire

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009 file photo, a rocket fired by Palestinian militants at southern Israel leaves a thin trail of white smoke, as smoke caused by explosions from Israeli forces' operations rises from buildings on the outskirts of Gaza Cit
AP Photos/Hatem Moussa, File
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open area in Southern Israel

Israeli fighter jets early on Tuesday bombed a Hamas facility in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a rocket fired at Israel from the coastal enclave hours earlier. 

"In response to the rocket fired towards Israel earlier this evening, an IAF aircraft targeted a military compound belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas in southern Gaza," the military spokesperson said in a statement, adding that Israel "holds Hamas accountable for events in Gaza."

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open area in Southern Israel on Monday, no damage and no casualties were reported according to the police.

The projectile fell in within the territory of one of Eshkol’s regional communities, in the Western Negev region of the country.

Red alert warning sounds were not triggered by the attack as the rocket was heading towards an unpopulated area.

A bomb squad was sent to the area deal with the aftermath of the strike to remove the rocket.

There were earlier reports of another rocket landing inside the coastal enclave of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Likud cabinet meeting on Sunday said that Israel holds Hamas responsible for the rockets fired from the coastal enclave into Israel despite Islamic Jihad largely assuming responsibility.

On Saturday night, the IDF launched strikes against targets in the Strip, in response to projectiles fired at Israel from the area on Friday.

Israeli police

"In response to the rockets launched yesterday at Sha'ar HeNegev and Sdot Negev regional councils in southern Israel, this evening IAF fighter jets targeted an observation post belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the southern Gaza Strip," a statement released by the IDF said.

“In the few weeks that have passed since we destroyed the terror tunnel that extended into our territory, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] has struck about 40 Hamas targets, including another strike by the air force last night,” Netanyahu said at the cabinet meeting.

The prime minister has been criticized by many for remaining silent on rocket fire coming from Gaza with Labor leader Avi Gabbay referring to his approach as a “failure.”

The rockets on Friday were the first to be sent since December 18 where a two-week barrage shook Southern Israel.

At least 18 rockets have been fired at Israel since US President Trump’s highly-contested decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of the country. Whilst a number of rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, several have landed in the populated areas of Sderot and south of Ashkelon.

This is the largest incidence of fire from Gaza since the 2014 Israel-Hamas war.

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