Israel answers rocket fire with airstrikes on Gaza Strip

Israeli fighter jets targeted three areas in the Gaza Strip Wednesday — retaliation for an earlier rocket attack — amid intense rioting along the border that may lead to more attacks on Hamas.

A Palestinian man walks on debris Wednesday following an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI. | License Photo
A Palestinian man walks on debris Wednesday following an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI. | License Photo

Officials said the airstrikes killed a 25-year-old man. Earlier Wednesday, a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hit a home in Beersheba, Israel. No injuries were reported.
“At 4 a.m. Israelis in the city of Beersheba were running to bomb shelters after a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel,” The Israel Defense Force said on Twitter. “We will defend Israeli civilians.”

There were actually two rockets fired from Gaza, one of which landed in the sea near Tel Aviv. The IDF identified the area where the rockets originated and blamed Hamas.

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Israel Defense Forces

@IDFSpokesperson
A rocket fired from #Gaza hit the bedrooms of 3 Israeli children last night. Their mother saved them as she rushed them from their beds to a bomb shelter in a matter of seconds.

6:18 AM – Oct 17, 2018
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The rocket attack, the first to hit Beershebain four years, required a weapon with a longer range. Israel has an Iron Dome defense system to intercept incoming missiles and rockets, but officials said one got through.

Hamas denied responsibility, saying it rejects “all irresponsible attempts” to undermine a truce.

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The confrontations came amid growing protests by Palestinian refugees who want to return to their homes, which are now under Israeli control. Israel’s military has killed more than 200 Palestinians and injured more than 18,000 in clashes during the violent demonstrations. Gaza’s Health Ministry estimates 68 Palestinians have had limbs amputated.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to escalate to a “different kind of activity.”

“If it has any sense, Hamas will cease fire and violent outbursts — now,” he said.

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Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said rioting along the Gaza border was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”

“We have exhausted all other options in Gaza,” Liberman said. “Now is the time to make decisions. We need to strike a serious blow at Hamas. That is the only way to bring back quiet.”

ByNicholas Sakelaris