Israel Strikes Gaza Strip after Rocket Launches
Israeli warplanes and tanks struck what the military called “underground infrastructure and military posts of the terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip” overnight between Saturday and Sunday following rocket launches from the Hamas-run coastal enclave. The rockets were apparently aimed at the southern Israeli port city of Ashdod and beyond, according to the military spokesperson’s office, which added that the country’s Iron Dome air defense system had been activated. There were no reports of injuries or damage, and it was unclear whether either of the incoming rockets was intercepted. Although Israel attributes blame to Hamas as the ruler of the Gaza Strip, it was not immediately clear who launched the rockets. The activity comes almost exactly a year after Israel killed the leader of Islamic Jihad in the enclave, Baha Abu al-Ata, and policy-makers were bracing for a retaliatory attack to mark the anniversary. Israeli civil aviation enthusiasts took note late last week that commercial and other aircraft generally approached Ben-Gurion Airport by more northerly routes, increasing their distance from Gaza. Ata’s targeted killing set off a week of fighting that involved salvoes of rockets and mortar rounds followed in most instances by heavy Israeli air and artillery responses.