Israeli Air Force jets struck several Hamas targets in the northern Gaza Strip overnight Wednesday the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.
Four different targets inside a military compound belonging to the group were hit, including buildings and infrastructure. Three additional targets inside a weapons production facility were also struck.
The strike was carried out in retaliation for heavy machine-gun fire that hit the southern Israeli city of Sderot, as well as for a number of shooting attacks against IDF troops along the Gaza border during the day, the army said.
“The terrorist organization Hamas is solely responsible for what is happening in and out of the Gaza Strip, and it will bear the consequences for the acts of terror carried out from Gaza against the citizens and sovereignty of Israel,” read a statement by the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit, adding that the military “is determined to continue its missions and to ensure security to the residents of Israel.”
Following the gunfire, IDF tanks fired against two Hamas observation posts in southern Gaza. Sderot Mayor Allon Davidi said the response was not significant enough and called for a much harsher strike.
“The judgment for a bullet must be the judgment for a rocket,” Davidi said, adding that the machine-gun fire was just as serious as a rocket, terror tunnels or attempts to infiltrate into Israel by cutting through its border fence.
Earlier Wednesday, IDF tanks struck several Hamas outposts in the southern Gaza Strip in response to shots fired at Israeli forces. No casualties were reported in both incidents.
The gunfire came a day after two days of protests along the Gaza border fence left 62 Palestinians dead.
On Monday over 40,000 Palestinians violently rioted in 13 different locations along the Gaza border fence with at least two serious incidents in which armed Hamas members tried to carry out terror attacks against IDF troops. 60 Palestinians were killed on Monday and an additional two were killed by IDF fire on Tuesday.
The deadly violence was condemned by the international community despite the Hamas terror group stating that 50 of the casualties were members of the terror group and Islamic Jihad claiming three of the casualties as belonging to their militant group.
One Palestinian rioter who was arrested by IDF soldiers after breaching the border fence and infiltrating into Israel on Tuesday said Hamas has orchestrated the violent demonstrations in order to remain in power.
Explaining that the humanitarian situation in the coastal enclave had badly deteriorated, “Hamas organized the demonstrations so that people would not ‘turn’ on them,” the man said in Arabic in a video released by the IDF on Tuesday.
“Hamas controls everything in the Strip. Hamas sends us messages to our Facebook accounts and to our cell-phones. They come to mosques handing leaflet saying to go to the fence. When there’s electricity and televisions can be turned on, all you can see is the march. People got worn down and bored, and I’m one of those people,” he continued.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.