Hamas rocket falls in southern Israel in 2nd unprovoked attack since last summer’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’.
Israeli military forces struck a target in the northern Gaza Strip late Thursday night, hours after a rocket fired from the coastal enclave struck southern Israel, violating an already shaky truce between the sides.
The Israel Defense Forces said it targeted a “terror site” belonging to the Hamas terror group near Beit Hanoun.
“In response to rocket attack against Israel, the #IDF targeted a terrorist infrastructure in northern #Gaza,” military spokesperson Peter Lerner wrote on Twitter.
Israeli news site Ynet reported tanks were used to strike the target, while the Haaretz news site said it was struck by Israeli air force jets.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage in Gaza.
The IDF also said Gaza residents would not be allowed to visit the Temple Mount on Friday as a repercussion for the rocket strike.
The visits, instituted several months ago for a select number of Gazans, was seen as a sign of trust-building after last summer’s war.
MK Hayim Yelin, former head of the Eshkol Regional Council, told The Times of Israel, “For most of the residents of the Gaza periphery, who are the periphery of the state of Israel, the 67th Independence Day is still a day without hope.”
“The government of Israel must act forcefully against terror and at the same time to look for a diplomatic horizon which promises peace and security.”
The strike came shortly after Gaza militants fired at least one rocket at southern Israel as the Jewish state wound up celebrations marking the anniversary of its creation, the army said.
Warning sirens sounded in “the southern communities of Sderot and Gevim following a rocket attack originating from the Gaza Strip. No damage reported,” a military statement said.
Israel went to war against Hamas, the de facto power in Gaza, last summer with the aim of stamping out cross-border rocket fire.
Then 50-day conflict killed 2,140 Palestinians, at least half of whom were involved in the fighting, and 73 people on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.
In December Israeli warplanes struck the strip for the first time since an August 26 ceasefire went into effect, after a rocket hit the Jewish state.
There were no casualties on either side.
Last week, Haaretz reported that defense experts believe that internal disagreements between Hamas’ political and military wings could endanger the shaky ceasefire with Israel.
According to the report, the rift within Hamas is widening amid disagreement over a number of issues: the organization’s position on the recent turmoil in the Arab world, specifically over its stance on a Saudi-led coalition against Yemen’s Huthi group as well as Hamas’ policy in Gaza concerning the confrontation with Israel and the deterioration of ties with Egypt.
The experts also warn that the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades might take advantage of the instability within the organization to carry out attacks on the border with Israel without getting a green light from the group’s political leaders.
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