Israel launches airstrikes on Gaza after rocket attacks as violence escalates
Israel launched airstrikes targeting alleged weapons manufacturing and storage sites in Gaza on Thursday, following a rocket attack from the coastal enclave, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.
In a statement, the IDF said “fighter jets struck a weapons manufacturing site” in central Gaza owned by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza.
“In parallel, a military compound belonging to the Hamas Terrorist Organization in the northern Gaza Strip which also was used as a naval weapons storage warehouse was struck,” the statement said.
Earlier Thursday, the IDF said five rockets fired from Gaza toward Israeli territory, including the cities of Ashkelon and Sderot, were intercepted and another rocket fell in an open area.
The airstrikes come after the deaths of at least 11 Palestinians in Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, which occurred during a rare daytime raid by the Israeli military that also left more than 100 injured. One of the dead targeted in the Nablus raid was a Hamas member, the group said.
IDF raids into the West Bank usually occur overnight; the last time the military conducted a daylight operation, they said it was because of an immediate threat.
The occupied West Bank has been rocked by a series of lethal Israeli military raids in the past year, as tensions in Israel and the Palestinian territories remain sky-high in a region riven by bloodshed.
An Israeli raid in the city of Jenin in January caused the deadliest day for Palestinians in the West Bank in over a year, according to CNN records, with at least 10 Palestinians killed on the day and one dying later of his wounds. One day later, at least seven civilians died in a shooting near a synagogue in Jerusalem – which Israel deemed one of its worst terror attacks in recent years.
This comes as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu leads a cabinet that has been described as the most far right and religious in the country’s history.
Netanyahu previously told CNN’s Jake Tapper that people can get “hung up” on peace negotiations with the Palestinians, saying he has opted for a different approach.
As relations between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants boil over, CNN’s Hadas Gold said the scenes on Wednesday reflected those “not seen since the second intifada,” or uprising.