(February 2, 2020 / JNS) In the wake of rocket fire and incendiary balloon launches from the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Israeli warplanes and helicopter gunships struck Hamas targets in northern Gaza on Sunday, and the Israeli Defense Ministry announced that it would freeze cement imports to the coastal enclave.
The Israeli military on Sunday reported that it had hit a Hamas “war room” and underground facilities “in response to high-trajectory fire and the launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza into Israel.”
On Saturday night, a rocket launched from Gaza landed in an open area in the Sha’ar HaNegev region. No damage or casualties were reported.
Video circulated after the attack of Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz taking cover in a bomb shelter along with his staff and local residents after warning sirens sounded.
Earlier that day, multiple balloon bouquets rigged with explosive devices were launched from Gaza into southern Israel, landing in Lachish and Merhavim regional councils.
In response to the attacks, Israel suspended cement imports into Gaza and cut the number of commercial entry permits to Gazans by 500—an approximately 9 percent decrease.
“The decision was made following security consultations and in light of repeated terror activity from the Gaza Strip against Israeli citizens over the past weeks, which have represented a violation of Israeli sovereignty,” said the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) in a statement.
Israel carried out airstrikes in Gaza early on Friday in response to the launching of three rockets from the strip. Two of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system, while the third landed in an open area.
The retaliatory strikes were carried out against a “wide array of targets belonging to the Hamas terror group” and constituted “a real blow to Hamas’s abilities to build up” its forces, according to the Israeli military. No injuries were reported in the strikes.
No group took responsibility for Friday’s rocket attacks, which came days after U.S. President Donald Trump released his long-awaited Mideast peace plan, which has been accepted by Israel but rejected by the Palestinians, who have taken to the streets to protest the proposal.
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