JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel fired on Hamas military bases throughout Gaza after Palestinian terrorists fired some 45 rockets and mortar shells from the strip on southern Israel, including one that landed inside the courtyard of a kindergarten building.
The Israel Defense Forces said it fired on 25 terror targets Wednesday in a statement that accused Hamas of “targeting Israeli civilians throughout the night with a severe rocket attack and dragging the Gaza Strip and its civilians down a deteriorating path and an escalation” of the conflict.
The rockets were fired on southern Israel early Wednesday morning about an hour after Israel Air Force jets fired on three military targets in a Hamas compound in the southern Gaza Strip “in response to the repeated launching of incendiary kites and balloons with explosive devices attached to them from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” the IDF said.
The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted seven of the rockets and three landed inside Gaza territory. At least six of the rockets landed inside Israeli communities near the border, including the one inside the courtyard. The rest landed in unpopulated areas of southern Israel. The barrage sent area residents to bomb shelters and safe rooms.
Hamas in Gaza in a statement called its shooting of rockets at southern Israel “a legitimate right.”
“The message of the shelling is to confirm that the resistance is determining the rules of engagement and will not allow the enemy to impose any new equations,” referring to Israel’s new policy of firing on Hamas targets in Gaza in response to the incendiary kites and balloons.
Early Wednesday afternoon, the IDF fired on a group of Palestinians launching arson balloons from the southern Gaza Strip.