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Three rockets fired at Israel from Gaza Strip; IDF strikes Hamas targets

Thousands evacuated as rocket fire interrupts festival in Sderot • Iron Dome intercepts two rockets, third lands near highway • Israel retaliates against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2018. Source: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.
Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2018. Source: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

Terrorists in Gaza fired three rockets into southern Israel on Sunday night, triggering sirens in the southern cities of Sderot, Ibim, Or HaNer, Nir Am, Gevim and at Sapir College.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, two of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome air-defense system, causing a small explosion and damage to a building in Sderot.

The third rocket exploded next to Highway 34, igniting a fire.

The rockets interrupted the “Live Sderot Festival,” causing the evacuation of thousands, including children. Israeli EMTs and paramedics treated several victims with stress symptoms, including a 30-year-old female who fell while running to a bomb shelter.

In retaliation, the IDF struck several targets in the northern Gaza Strip, including the office of a Hamas battalion commander and other Hamas military infrastructure. No casualties were reported.

In addition, IDF Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon announced on Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had decided to halve oil imports intended for Gaza’s power station until further notice.

Sunday’s rocket attacks represent the fourth such incident in the past two weeks.

“The Israel Defense Forces will continue acting against attempts to harm Israel’s citizens and views the Hamas terror organization as responsible for everything that takes place in the Strip,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.

The rocket attack occurred in the context of heightened tensions in the region, as the IDF conducted an airstrike in Syria late Saturday night against pro-Iranian operatives planning to attack northern Israel with explosives-laden drones. In Lebanon, Iranian-backed Hezbollah claimed that two Israeli drones crashed near its press office in the southern suburbs of Beirut; however, based on photographs of the wreckage, analysts speculate that the drones were of Iranian manufacture.

While Hamas has not taken responsibility for Sunday’s rockets, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas warned Israel earlier in the day that they would respond to the “blatant Israeli aggression” in Syria and Lebanon.

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