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IDF strikes Hamas infrastructure in retaliation for rocket fire


The Israeli military struck Hamas military infrastructure early on Sunday morning in response to rocket fire launched towards the southern city of Ashkelon, the second time in two weeks.


The strikes, carried out by Israeli Air Force jets and attack helicopters targeted Hamas military sites including “two rocket manufacturing sites, underground infrastructure and a training facility for the Hamas terror group’s naval force,” the IDF Spokespersons Unit said in a statement. 


The IDF said it holds Hamas responsible for the rocket fire and “will bear the consequences” for the rocket fire. Israel, the statement added, takes “all terror activity against Israel very seriously and is prepared and willing to act as resolutely as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli citizens and its sovereignty.”


Late on Saturday night, a rocket was fired towards the southern city of Ashkelon sending thousands. No group claimed responsibility for the rocket fire.


Shortly afterward an IDF tank fired a shell towards a Hamas outpost without permission. The incident is being investigated by the military.


The military is also investigating why the Iron Dome missile defense system did not intercept the rocket, which damaged a factory in the industrial part of the city, as well as the rockets that had been fired towards central Israel last week.


Last Sunday two rockets were fired around 2AM, activating incoming rocket sirens in the southern city of Ashdod and in communities in the Shfela region of central Israel including Kibbutz Palmachim some 60km from the Gaza Strip, sending thousands to shelters.


The rocket fire came as a thunderstorm battered the area, and the IDF believes that the Hamas rockets were fired after a lightning bolt hit an electrical panel that was connected to an underground launcher in a field near the neighborhood of Sajaiya.


The incident was similar to another in 2018 when a home in Beersheba was hit by a projectile and significantly damaged.


Also on Sunday, the IDF began a surprise command exercise to improve the capabilities and readiness of the Southern Command for combat scenarios in the Gaza Strip.


The military said that the drill, which includes both regular and reserve troops, was planned in advance and will finish by Wednesday. As part of the exercise, the military said that there would be a high amount of movement of security forces, vehicles, and aircraft in the Gaza Envelope.


During the exercise, the division’s readiness for a multidimensional defense in the face of a variety of scenarios will be examined.


This is the fifth such inspection by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi that has been held every few months to ensure the readiness level of the armed forces.


Due to the chief of staff being in quarantine after being in contact with a known coronavirus patient, he will observe the drill remotely. Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir will be on the ground in his place.

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