Israel Strikes Gaza in Retaliation for Rocket Fire Off Tel Aviv Coast
The Israeli Air Force hit what a military spokesman described as “a series of targets in a rocket production facility belonging to the Hamas terror group” in an airstrike late Saturday night, after Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets into Israel Saturday morning that landed off the coast of Tel Aviv and Palmachim, south of Rishon Lezion. Palestinian media said Hamas fired anti-aircraft guns and SA-7 surface-to-air missiles at attacking Israeli helicopters. There were no reports of damage. The Israeli Army also shelled Hamas targets near the Gaza-Israel border. Israeli officials said the Palestinian attacks were “serious and unacceptable” and would be met with retaliation. “Hamas is responsible and bears the consequences for all activity in and emanating from the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said. Israel’s Kan News said Israeli officials believed the rocket attack was carried out by Islamic Jihad forces in the strip. Nevertheless, Israel holds Hamas, as the ruling party in Gaza, responsible for any attacks coming from the strip. Israeli media reported that Israel sent a message to Egyptian mediators that it views the rocket fire as a serious matter, while the Lebanese television station Al-Mayadeen said Hamas told the Egyptian mediators that if Israel struck in Gaza, it would respond. Egypt reportedly encouraged Israel not to respond to Saturday’s rocket fire.