The Israeli Air Force has carried out a series of strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets throughout the Gaza Strip late Thursday and overnight Friday in retaliation for two Fajr-5 rockets that were fired from Gaza toward central Israel.
It wasn’t immediately clear which group in Gaza was responsible for the rocket fire with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other groups all denying as being behind it. Hamas said it was attempting to prevent any further escalation and promised to take action against the perpetrators as the rocket fire “went against the national consensus.”
Among the targets hit were the headquarters responsible for the planning and execution of terror attacks in the West Bank, an underground complex that served as Hamas' main rocket-manufacturing site, and a military training site that also functioned as the group’s drone program.
Several underground infrastructures and military compounds were also struck, including naval sites belonging to Hamas. Local Palestinian media in Gaza said that Israeli naval vessels also took part in the strikes off the coast of Rafah.
According to the military, nine projectiles were launched from the Strip, with six being intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, another fell inside Gaza.
As mentioned, the Israeli airstrikes came in response to two rockets were fired towards Tel Aviv from Gaza. Sirens were activated throughout the Gush Dan regional council in central Israel around 9 p.m. with two loud explosions heard.
While initial reports indicated that the Iron Dome intercepted one of the rockets, the military later said that no interception took place as both rockets fell in open territory.
“Two rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory. The alert and warning systems operated as required,” the IDF said in a statement. “No interceptions were made by aerial defense systems. No damage or injuries were reported. There are no special instructions for the civilian home front.”
Following the rockets, Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held security consultations at the Kirya IDF Military Headquarters in Tel Aviv with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat, ISA Chief Nadav Argaman, and other senior defense officials.
As of Friday morning, the IDF estimates that the rockets fired at Tel Aviv were launched by mistake by low-level Hamas forces.
“There is a growing assumption that the Hamas rocket fire towards the Gush Dan region was by mistake,” the military said on Friday, adding that while it appears that low-level Hamas militants are behind the rocket fire, the IDF sees the group as responsible for everything happening in the coastal enclave.