Israeli retaliatory strikes hit 34 Gaza sites

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Air Force bombed 34 sites in Gaza in what its military said was retaliation for a rocket barrage from the coastal strip.

The strikes were responding to 18 rockets fired at Israel over a 24-hour period beginning Sunday night, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

International media linked the Israeli action to the discovery Monday afternoon of the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teens. Israel has blamed their murders on Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Several more rockets were fired from Gaza on southern Israel in the hours after Israel’s retaliatory strikes, in one case starting a fire in a Sderot field that required several firefighting squads and at least two firefighting planes to douse. Another rocket damaged several cars in a southern Israeli community.

“The IDF will continue to act in order to restore the peaceful living to the civilians of the state of Israel,” military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement. “The Hamas terror organization and its extensions are solely responsible for any terror activities emanating from the Gaza Strip.”

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