Israel attacks Hamas in Gaza amid rising tensions

Israel Defense Forces launched an attack overnight targeting Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip. Image courtesy of Israel Defense Forces/Twitter
Israel Defense Forces launched an attack overnight targeting Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip. Image courtesy of Israel Defense Forces/Twitter

Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Israeli fighter jets launched a retaliatory airstrike overnight Sunday targeting Hamas military positions in the Gaza Strip, officials said Monday amid rising tensions in the region.

The strike hit an underground rocket manufacturing facility and other military sites of the terrorist organization in response to militants from the Palestinian enclave firing rockets at Israel on Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces said.


The IDF, which holds Hamas responsible for all terrorist activity that originates from Gaza, said in a statement early Monday that its attack hinders the militant organization's "ability to strengthen and arm itself."

Shortly after the Israeli military action was announced, sirens blared throughout Sderot, a city near the northern border of Gaza, and nearby Kibbutz Ruhama.

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Military officials said four surface-to-air rocket launches were detected, three of which exploded midair with the fourth falling into an open area.

IDF tanks responded to the assault by hammering Hamas positions on the border of the Gaza Strip, the IDF said.


The military operation comes as already high tensions continue to rise between Israel and Palestinians.

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Israel has been carrying out a series of anti-terrorist activities in the occupied West Bank as terrorists have conducted a series of attacks in Israel.

Palestinian officials say 47 of their people have been killed by Israeli forces this year. Israeli officials say the terrorist attacks have claimed 10 of their citizens' lives.

After a car was driven into a group of civilians in Jerusalem Friday, three people were killed, including 2 children ages 6 and 8.

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The driver of the vehicle, identified as a 31-year-old resident of Issawiya in East Jerusalem, was "neutralized" by police who arrived on the scene, Israel police said in a statement.

Following the attack, the suspect's parents, brother, wife and another person connected to him were arrested and taken for questioning.


In response to the increase in terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, Israel's security cabinet on Sunday authorized nine new settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank.

The settlements, the first under the new far-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are illegal under international law.

"The Civil Administration Higher Planning Committee will be convened in the coming days to approve the construction of new residential units in existing communities in Judea and Samaria," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

The foreign ministry for the Palestinian Authority condemned the decision, saying it crossed all red lines and was a dangerous escalation toward open war between the two sides, the Palestinian WAFA news agency reported.

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