Israel strikes Gaza targets after rocket attacks

(JTA) — Israeli aircrafts struck seven targets in the Gaza Strip after Palestinians fired 14 rockets into Israel.

The air strikes Thursday night targeted rocket-launching facilities in the southern and northern Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office said in a statement.

A spokesman of the Hamas-run ministry of health in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qidra, told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency that three Palestinian citizens were injured in an airstrike targeting a tunnel in Rafah, on Gaza’s Egyptian border. One person sustained critical wounds, and two others suffered minor injuries, he said.

Palestinians on Thursday fired a total of 14 rockets at villages in the western Negev region and at the western part of the city of Ashkelon. No one was hurt in the explosions, which also did not result in any damage to property, according to Israel Radio.

The rockets were fired after the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization said it would resume observation of a ceasefire with Israel that was brokered in 2012 by Egypt. Earlier this week, the terrorist group  launched a barrage of rockets on Israel in retaliation for an Israeli strike that killed three of its militants.

Hamas controls Gaza, but a number of smaller groups also operate there and have in the past launched attacks on Israel.

The IDF has deployed batteries of the Iron Dome rocket interception system around the cities of Netivot and Beersheva.

The city of Ashkelon decided to hold Purim festivities as planned and to keep schools open.

Moshe Fadlon, the mayor of Herzliya, which is north of Tel Aviv,  has arranged for buses to bring children and parents from the western Negev area to his town’s Adloyadah Purim festival.

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