IDF strikes in Gaza in response to nighttime rocket attack; 2 more rockets fired

The Israeli military carried out strikes in the Gaza Strip early Saturday morning, hours after two rockets were launched at Israeli from the Palestinian enclave.

The military said it targeted a Hamas underground facility for the production of rocket materials in the central Gaza Strip. Palestinians reported that several strikes occurred near Gaza City shortly before 5 am Videos and photos on social media showed large fireballs rising following strikes on unspecified targets.

“The site targeted was one of the largest and most important sites in the Strip for the production of base materials for rockets by terror groups,” the military said, asserting that the attack would significantly set back rocket-making.

The military regularly holds Hamas responsible for any attacks emanating from Gaza.

Concurrently, two more rockets were fired toward Israel and warning sirens were activated in the Lakhish Regional Council to the northeast of the Strip. Both rockets hit open areas.

Earlier, two rockets were launched at Israel from Gaza. According to the Israel Defense Forces, one of the rockets was intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, while the other landed in an open area, causing no damage.

There was no immediate claim by any of the Gaza-based terror groups for Saturday’s rocket fire just after midnight.

Incoming rocket sirens sounded in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon, sending local residents rushing to shelters. The Magen David Adom ambulance service said there were no reports of physical injuries following the rocket attack, but two people were treated for anxiety.

Footage posted to social media purported to show the moment one of the rockets was intercepted by the Iron Dome.

The rocket fire came hours after US President Joe Biden departed the country, and shortly after the American leader, now in Saudi Arabia, announced an agreement that includes steps by Riyadh toward normalizing ties with Israel.

The deal will see the transfer of a pair of Red Sea islands from Egypt to Saudia Arabia, and Riyadh allowing Israeli airlines to fly over its territory on their way to the far east. It is also expected to include the Saudis allowing direct flights from Israel for Muslim pilgrims.

In 2020, the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group launched a salvo of rockets at the south as Israel was signing peace deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Biden departed from Israel earlier Friday, after a two-day trip that included meetings with Israeli leaders and a visit to East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

In the past, Israel has responded with airstrikes against Hamas sites regardless of the group launching the attack. More rarely, it has directed its response at Islamic Jihad, if the terror group claimed responsibility.

The last time rockets were fired from the coastal enclave toward Israel was on June 18. That attack was thought to have been fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in response to the deaths of three Palestinians killed in a gunfight with Israeli troops a day earlier.

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