IDF at­tacks Ha­mas targets in Gaza Strip fol­low­ing gun­fire at Sderot, troops

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By ANNA AHRONHEIM

Is­rael Air Force jets struck sev­eral Ha­mas targets in the north­ern Gaza Strip overnight Wed­nes­day.

Four targets in­side a mil­i­tary com­pound be­long­ing to the Is­lamist group were hit, in­clud­ing build­ings and in­fra­struc­ture. Three ad­di­tional targets in­side a weapons pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity were also at­tacked.

The strikes were car­ried out in re­tal­i­a­tion for the heavy ma­chine-gun fire from Gaza on the city of Sderot on Wed­nes­day as well as a num­ber of shoot­ing at­tacks against IDF troops along the border dur­ing the day, the army said.

“The Ha­mas ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion is solely re­spon­si­ble for what is hap­pen­ing in and out of the Gaza Strip, and it will bear the con­se­quences for the acts of ter­ror­ism car­ried out from Gaza on the cit­i­zens and the sovereignty of Is­rael,” read a state­ment from the IDF’s Spokesper­son’s Unit, adding that the mil­i­tary “is de­ter­mined to con­tinue its mis­sions and to en­sure se­cu­rity for the in­hab­i­tants of Is­rael.”

Fol­low­ing the en­emy gun­fire on Sderot, IDF tanks shelled two Ha­mas ob­ser­va­tion posts in south­ern Gaza. Mayor Alon Da­vidi said the re­sponse was in­suf­fi­cient and called for a much sharper strike.

“The pun­ish­ment for a bul­let must be the same as the pun­ish­ment for a rocket,” Da­vidi said, adding that the ma­chine-gun fire on homes in his city was just as se­ri­ous as a rocket, at­tack tun­nels un­der the border or at­tempts to in­fil­trate Is­rael by cut­ting through the se­cu­rity fence.

Ear­lier on Wed­nes­day, IDF tanks struck sev­eral Ha­mas out­posts in the south­ern Gaza Strip, in re­sponse to shots fired at Is­raeli forces.

No ca­su­al­ties were re­ported in ei­ther in­ci­dent.

The gun­fire came af­ter two days of ri­ots along the Gaza border fence left – ac­cord­ing to Ha­mas – 62 Pales­tini­ans dead.

That day, more than 40,000 Gazans protests in a to­tal of 13 lo­ca­tions along the border, with at least two se­ri­ous in­ci­dents in which armed men be­long­ing to Ha­mas tried to at­tack IDF troops. Sixty Pales­tini­ans were killed on Mon­day and an ad­di­tional two were killed by IDF fire on Tues­day, again, ac­cord­ing to Ha­mas.

The deadly vi­o­lence was con­demned by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, de­spite the Ha­mas say­ing that 50 of the ca­su­al­ties were mem­bers of the ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion, and the Is­lamic Ji­had ter­ror­ist group claim­ing three of the ca­su­al­ties as its mem­bers.

One Pales­tinian ri­oter who was ar­rested by IDF sol­diers af­ter breach­ing the border fence and in­fil­trat­ing Is­rael on Tues­day said Ha­mas has or­ches­trated the vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions in or­der to re­main in power.

As the hu­man­i­tar­ian sit­u­a­tion in the coastal en­clave had badly de­te­ri­o­rated, “Ha­mas or­ga­nized the demon­stra­tions so that peo­ple would not turn on them,” the man said in Ara­bic, in a video re­leased by the IDF on Tues­day.

“Ha­mas con­trols ev­ery­thing in the Strip. Ha­mas sends us mes­sages to our Face­book ac­counts and to our cell­phones. They come to mosques hand­ing out leaflet say­ing to go to the fence. When there’s elec­tric­ity and tele­vi­sions can be turned on, all you can see is the march [to the border]. Peo­ple got worn down and bored, and I’m one of those peo­ple,” he con­tin­ued.

Tovah Lazaroff con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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