Israeli jets hit 80 Gaza targets after dozens of rockets fired at southern Israel communities


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli jets struck more than 80 Hamas terror targets in Gaza after dozens of rockets were fired from the coastal strip at civilian communities in southern Israel.

Nearly 40 rockets were fired at southern Israel from Gaza on Friday night and early on Saturday morning, triggering dozens of Code Red rocket alert sirens in the communities, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 17 of the rockets fired from Gaza. Two other rockets landed inside Gaza, and the rest of the rockets landed in open areas in Israel. Six Israelis were injured in the rocket attacks.

Among the targets struck by Israel’s Air Force, were a building that served as Hamas’ general security headquarters and several observation posts.

Islamic Jihad in a statement issued Saturday claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks, Ynet reported.

“The enemy must understand that the resistance will not accept the equations it imposes, based on killing from their side and silence on our side. We decided to respond to the aggression and acted with will-power and determination. We will maintain the resistance and its stance—bombing will be answered with bombing and blood with blood. We will be committed to a cease-fire deal if Israel commits to it. The Palestinian resistance will respond to any Israeli attack,” the Islamic Jihad statement said.

The IDF later said it also bombed eight Islamic Jihad targets in response to rockets fired on Saturday morning, including a weapons manufacturing factory and a cement factory.

In addition, mortar shells fired from Gaza struck the Erez Crossing, damaging the ambulances entrance, through which Gazans require medical care in Israel cross.

The rockets were fired hours after at least 16,000 Palestinians gathered at five locations along the Gaza border fence on Friday. The rioting Palestinians burned tires and threw rocks toward Israeli troops, and also threw grenades and firebombs The IDF soldiers responded with tear gas and occasional live fire. Five Palestinians were killed Friday in the border riots, and a sixth died of his injuries on Sunday morning, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

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