Israel strikes Gaza in retaliation for rocket attack

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Feb. 27, 2017 at 12:05 PM
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Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Israel Defense Forces tanks and aircraft struck five Hamas targets in Gaza on Monday in retaliation for a rocket attack, the army confirmed.

Palestinian reports said at least eight airstrikes hit Hamas positions, including a concrete factory and a military site, and injured at least four people, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The attacks came after a rocket, fired from Gaza, exploded harmlessly in an open area of southern Israel. Although there were no casualties, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, Israel's coordinator of government activity, commented, "Israel isn't interested in escalation, but it cannot stand by as rockets are fired toward its sovereign territory."

Hamas, the political leadership in Gaza, denied responsibility for the rocket launch and blamed the IDF for escalating tensions between Israel and Gaza.

Several rocket attacks on Israel were observed in February, including one volley fired at the southern city of Eliat. It activated Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system, which shot down three of the rockets. The fourth landed in open territory without incident. While Hamas and Islamic State-affiliated groups launch rockets over the border, Israel holds Hamas responsible for any attack from Gaza.

In a statement, Hamas referred to the Israeli airstrikes as "continued Israeli aggression against the forces of the resistance."

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