Israel strikes 100 Gaza targets after Hamas aims rockets at Tel Aviv

IDF warplanes, combat helicopters and aircraft attacked some 100 terrorist targets of the Hamas terrorist organization throughout the Gaza Strip overnight and Friday morning, according to the IDF spokesperson.

Among the terrorist targets was the offices of the Hamas headquarters in the Rimal neighborhood in central Gaza City.

The headquarters is responsible for directing terrorist operatives of the Hamas terrorist organization in Judea and Samaria by carrying out terror attacks, building terrorist infrastructures, transmitting terrorist activity directives, transferring money and responding to terrorist attacks against Israel and Israeli citizens.
Further, the main production site was attacked by standard rocket weapons in the Gaza Strip. This is an underground site with the ability to manufacture rockets in the Gaza Strip.

In addition, several military compounds were attacked, including a Hamas naval force post that is also used to manufacture weapons. Outposts and a number of underground infrastructures were likewise attacked.

“The IDF views with great severity any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and will continue to act vigorously against these terrorist acts,” the IDF spokesperson said.

The Israeli Air Force began striking targets in Gaza overnight Friday in retaliation for two rockets that had been fired at Tel Aviv Thursday night. This was the first such attack since a 2014 war.

The IDF said the air force hit 100 targets in total.

The army confirmed that it was Hamas that launched the rockets at the center of the country. Though, according to Palestinian sources, the IDF struck several Islamic Jihad targets, as well.

A red alert was heard in the Eshkol Regional Council at around the same time that the overnight airs strikes began. A second red alert was activated in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council and Sdot Negev Regional Council soon after. The Iron Dome defense system intercepted one of the rockets.

Several more red alerts sounded Friday morning as rockets were aimed at the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council, Ashkelon beach and Sderot. The Iron Dome intercepted some of the rockets. There were no reported casualties.

The Israeli military said it was targeting “terror sites” in Gaza. 

On Palestinian social media, residents of Gaza were posting sarcastic comments, such as, “Welcome to the morning of the boom.”

Late Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting at the Kiriya in Tel Aviv to discuss Israel’s response. Among those participating were Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen Aviv Kochavi, National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) head Nadav Argaman, and other senior security establishment officials.

Several Israelis were treated for shock.

As the retaliation began, politicians and supporters from around the world reacted in support of Israel.

“Our Israeli allies have an absolute right to self-defense, “ he said. “The United States should do whatever possible to bolster that defense.”

“More attempted rockets from Gaza-reports say rockets fell short-inside Gaza,” he wrote. “Presumably all responsible countries/international orgs will condemn attacks/confirm Israel’s right to defend. Anything else is tone deaf – to Israelis, Palestinians to peace. Time to wake up folks!”

He followed that tweet with another one,  noting that “Hamas, PIJ and PFLP are all running for the hills (tunnels) denying responsibility for the rockets tonight. Separately, Hamas violently put down anti-Hamas demonstrations today in Gaza with live bullets, beatings and detentions. Hamas causes much suffering in Gaza!,” Greenblatt wrote.

The European Union’s Ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, condemned the Hamas rocket attack on Tel Aviv.

“Following developments with grave concern,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that “targeting civilian areas [is] unacceptable.”

Despite the air strikes, Palestinians report they are planning to protest at the border fence of Friday.

Israeli media said Egypt will likely try to broker a ceasefire on Friday between Israel and Hamas.

Hagay Hacohen and Reuters contributed to this story.

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