Israel retaliatory strikes against Hamas kill pregnant Palestinian, 2-year-old daughter


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A pregnant Palestinian woman and her 2-year-old daughter reportedly were killed in a retaliatory airstrike by Israel against Hamas.

The early Sunday morning strike by the Israeli Air Force against what it called two “Hamas weapon manufacturing facilities” in the northern Gaza Strip came in response to two rocket attacks on Israel. The Palestinian Maan news agency reported on the two deaths.

The Iron Dome missile defense system had intercepted a rocket over the densely populated southern city of Ashkelon the previous night, according to the Israel Defense Forces. On Friday night, three rockets were fired from Gaza at a town on the Israeli border with the coastal strip. Following the attack, an additional Iron Dome battery was deployed on Saturday to southern Israel near Beersheba.

On Friday evening and Saturday, at least seven Palestinians were killed while trying to infiltrate at the border fence between Israel and Gaza. Dozens of Palestinian rioters broke through the barrier, the IDF said.

The IDF said in a statement that it holds Hamas responsible for the aggression from Gaza.

“This weekend we have seen clear incitement encouraging the breach of Israel’s sovereignty, violent confrontation against Israelis and threatening the residence of southern Israel,” said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner. “The IDF will continue to act, preempt and defeat those that plot to harm the civilians of Israel.”

Hamas warned Israel to stop its air attacks on Gaza.

“This shows the occupation’s desire to escalate,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on Sunday, Iran’s Press TV reported. “We warn the occupation against continuing this foolishness.”

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