Israel Hits Gaza After Rocket Attack As Jerusalem Tensions Escalate
Post created on 2:26 pm
Israel carried out its first air strikes on the Gaza Strip in months early Tuesday in response to a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave as tensions soar after a weekend of violence around a Jerusalem holy site.
Warning sirens sounded in southern Israel Monday night after the rocket was fired from the enclave controlled by the Islamist group Hamas, the first such incident since early January.
The projectile crashed into the sea off Tel Aviv.
“One rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome Air Defense System,” the Israeli military said in a statement.
Hours later the Israeli air force said it had hit a Hamas weapons manufacturing site in retaliation.
Hamas claimed to have used its “anti-aircraft defence” to counter the air raids, which caused no casualties, according to witnesses and security sources in Gaza.
No faction in the crowded enclave of 2.3 million inhabitants immediately claimed responsibility for the rocket but it comes after a series of attacks in Israel and a weekend of tensions at a holy site in Jerusalem.
Israel holds Hamas responsible for all rocket fire from Israel, and usually carries out air strikes in response.
The incident, the first of its kind since January, comes after a weekend of Israeli-Palestinian violence in and around Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound that wounded more than 170 people, mostly Palestinian demonstrators.
Diplomatic sources said the United Nations Security Council was to hold a session on Tuesday to discuss the spike in violence.
Similar violence in Jerusalem around the same time last year triggered repeated Hamas rocket fire into Israel which escalated into an 11-day war.