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IDF Strikes Hamas Targets in Gaza After Two Rockets Fired at Israel

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip launched two rockets that landed in open spaces in southern Israel early Thursday, to which the Israeli military responded by striking Hamas targets in the enclave. The exchange followed an outbreak of violence earlier in the day in which Israeli fighter jets bombed a Hamas base after dozens of incendiary devices flown from Gaza caused fires to break out near Israeli communities. Tensions have been high since Iranian proxy Islamic Jihad on Monday launched a missile that landed in the Mediterranean Sea but which many believe was intended to target central Israeli cities (the Israeli military censored the location of the projectile’s impact site so as not to provide terror groups with information that might enable them to enhance the accuracy of their arsenals). Analysts have postulated that Islamic Jihad was attempting to derail a fragile detente between Israel and Hamas that international mediators are trying to reinforce by devising a long-elusive, formal long-term ceasefire. According to reports, Hamas has agreed to halt temporarily the so-called March of Return protests that have been taking place weekly along the frontier for over a year, and which invariably have descended into clashes between Israeli troops and rioting Gazans. In exchange, Jerusalem has eased restrictions on the passage of goods into Gaza, including “dual-use” materials that can be used both for civilian and military purposes.